Dropping details! Ryan Seacrest shed light on his decision to leave Live With Kelly and Ryan on Thursday, February 16.
“Kelly [Ripa] and I have some news here. This is something that she and I have been talking about for a long time and it was a tough, tough decision. Last year, we spoke and I made the decision to make this my last season as cohost with Kelly here on Live With Kelly and Ryan, which is bittersweet,” the 48-year-old TV personality said with Ripa, 52, by his side.
The former soap star noted that Seacrest was “a gem” and one of her “best friends.”
“The greatest part of this entire experience has been that you’ve gone from being a friend to a family member,” she gushed. “You are family to us.”
Seacrest, who joined Live in 2017, called it “remarkable” to be on the morning show for several years, revealing that he initially only signed a contract for three seasons.
“Once American Idol starts from Los Angeles live later in the spring, I’ll head out to the West Coast and host that show — the 21st season of American Idol — from Los Angeles,” he explained, noting that he’ll guest host Live whenever asked. “As a dear friend coming in, but as a best friend in this moment, to have your kindness, your thoughtfulness, your levity, your friendship, I look up to you. I respect you so much. I love the fact that we get a chance to sit here every day and connect with you at home, in your kitchens, in your living rooms at work. There’s nothing like this on television.”
Seacrest noted he was “getting emotional” but “promised” Ripa he wouldn’t cry.
“He said he was supposed to be here for three years,” the Live Wire author said. “We were just like, ‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I mean, you already moved your sofa here.’”
The On Air with Ryan Seacrest host added: “Three turned into six because of the genuine fun of being on this television show every hour of every weekday. I love you so much.”
The twosome then confirmed that Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, will be taking over in the coming weeks.
“We are so aware of the importance of continuity and consistency and, like, the familial vibe that we all have here. It only makes sense to not just our viewing audience at home, but our audience here within our staff, our support system, our extended family, to bring in somebody that we know and love and who’s really always been here,” Ripa said. “The only person I can think of that is capable of, you know, holding your torch the way you have held it. And that would be, my husband, Mark Consuelos, in what Ryan and I are calling the nation’s weirdest social experiment.”
Seacrest joked that the actor told him “he’s got a list of things to address” in his first episode when he joins “in a few months.”
After the pair learned Consuelos will be a guest on the Friday, February 17, show, Ripa quipped that he wasn’t even aware that the announcement was coming on Thursday. Seacrest subsequently revealed that he spoke to the Riverdale alum days ago.
“I talked to him over the weekend — he’s excited!” he declared. “He’s not sure for how long, but he knows the sign is changing.”
Ripa and Consuelos, who wed in 1996, share three kids: Michael, 25, Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19.
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“OK NOW we’re empty nesters. When your friends become work mates become family. ♥️,” she joked via Instagram on Thursday. “Congratulations @ryanseacrest on surviving six winters in NYC! I’m proud of you and am forever in your corner. And @instasuelos welcome home, or to the contractual obligation phase of our relationship.”