There are some big changes happening at “Live”.
On Thursday, Ryan Seacrest surprised fans by announcing that he is leaving the morning talk show, currently called “Live with Kelly and Ryan”, after six seasons co-hosting.
Seacrest joined “Live” in 2017, replacing Ripa’s previous co-host Michael Strahan. Kelly Ripa’s husband Mark Consuelos will step in as the long-running show’s new permanent co-host.
Saying on the show that it was a “tough, tough” decision and a “bittersweet” one, Seacrest added in a statement to People, “Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career. She has been an amazing partner, friend, and confidant, and although we will always be a part of each other’s lives, I will miss our mornings together.
“I also want to thank [executive producer] Michael Gelman and the entire staff and crew — we’ve made memories to last a lifetime, met some of the most incredible people and had the warmest welcome into the homes of so many viewers across America,” he continued. “It’s been a memorable ride and now I’m excited to pass the baton to Kelly’s ‘real’ husband, Mark.”
Ripa also spoke fondly of her “dear, dear friend” after he delivered the news.
“I’m so grateful to have spent the last six years beside my dear friend of too many decades to count and will miss starting my days with Ryan,” she said in a statement. “Ryan’s energy, passion and love for entertainment is one-of-a-kind.”
On Thursday’s show, she added, “I can’t thank you enough on all of our behalf. There is nobody else like you. There is nobody who can really do what you do. I know you in real life as well as TV life. I say this about very few people: what you see is what you get. This is not an act, this is a good man. I am so endlessly impressed by you.”
As for Ripa’s new co-host, Consuelos has regularly been featuring on “Live” as a guest and guest-host.
“As a fan-favourite guest host for years, Mark is no stranger to the Live family,” Gelman said in a statement. “Having him join the show is so special for us and we’re sure that viewers will feel the same.”
The producer added, “Goodbyes are never easy, but we look forward to welcoming Ryan back regularly with open arms.”
“Live” originally began as “The Morning Show” in 1983, hosted by Regis Philbin and Cyndy Garvey. In 1988, Garvey was replaced by Kathie Lee Gifford, with the name of the show changing to “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee”.
When Gifford left the show in 2000, Philbin briefly hosted solo, before welcoming Ripa on as the new co-host. Philbin retired from the show in 2011.