A morning staple! Since Live premiered, the talk show has had a history of hosts from Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford to Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest.
The talk show premiered in 1983 under the name The Morning Show with Philbin as its lead. Two years later, Gifford signed on to cohost alongside the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? alum. In 1985, the show was renamed Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee. The pair worked together until 2000 when the former Today star exited the series. Despite her departure, the two remained close until Philbin’s death in July 2020.
“Kathie Lee, you want to know the best part of my life, my TV life, was in the 15 years I spent with you from 1985 to 2000,” Philbin said during a surprise April 2019 appearance on the Todayshow before Gifford’s departure from the NBC show. “We stayed friends through the entire game, and it was a lot of fun. Where you are right now I know you’re going to be moving on to a great new career making movies, and since I’ve seen the first one, I know you’re going to be a great success. I really mean it.”
Following Gifford’s farewell, Ripa began to guest host the program. In February 2001, she scored the role as cohost alongside Philbin. With the All My Children actress joining the team, the show became Live! With Regis and Kelly. The duo worked together for more than ten years before he left the show in November 2011 after hosting for 23 years.
While the New York native and Hope & Faith star appeared to have a good rapport on camera, their relationship behind the scenes wasn’t so peachy. During a 2017 appearance on Larry King Live, Philbin revealed that he was not in touch with Ripa and alleged he was never asked to appear on the talk show again.
“Never once did they ask me to go back,” he claimed at the time. “[Kelly] got very offended when I left. She thought I was leaving because of her. I was leaving because I was getting older and that wasn’t right for me anymore.”
Ripa, for her part, addressed Philbin’s exit and claims in her 2022 memoir, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories.
“The reality is that I would have traded places with him in a second. I was scared to death, and suddenly responsible for keeping our very popular show on the air, all by myself,” she wrote. “In the years following his departure, Regis was invited back on the show many times, but always declined. So it was a genuine thrill and surprise when he finally relented and agreed to be on our annual Halloween show.”
After Philbin left, Michael Strahan joined. Following his exit, Ripa worked alongside a variety of potential cohosts during a lengthy search for the next Live host. In September 2017, Seacrest scored the full-time gig and the show became Live! With Kelly and Ryan. While working on Live, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians producer also continued his hosting gigs for American Idol and his radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, for KIIS-FM. Seacrest revealed in February 2023 that he was leaving Live after six years.
“Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career,” he said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Shortly after the announcement of Seacrest’s exit, it was confirmed that Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, would be joining the Live family.
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