Ryan Seacrest to Exit ‘Live With Kelly and Ryan,’ Mark Consuelos Joins as Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host

Ryan Seacrest is departing ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan’ and now co-host Kelly Ripa is going to be bringing her husband to work — permanently.

via People:

On Thursday, the longtime broadcaster — who joined the syndicated ABC daytime show in 2017 — announced his exit from the series, with plans to move back to the west coast this spring ahead of the American Idol live shows in Los Angeles.

In his departure, Seacrest will be permanently replaced with actor Mark Consuelos, Ripa’s husband. The show will be officially rebranded as Live with Kelly and Mark.

Leaving was a “tough, tough” decision, Seacrest noted on the show, and a “bittersweet” one.

He honored his bond with Ripa. “Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career,” said Seacrest, 48, in a statement. “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 added. “It’s been a memorable ride and now I’m excited to pass the baton to Kelly’s ‘real’ husband, Mark.”

Ripa, 52, shared her fondness for her friendship with Seacrest, too, calling him a “dear, dear friend” on the show.

“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.”

“I can’t thank you enough on all of our behalf,” she said on Thursday’s show. “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.”

This marks the third co-host Ripa has worked with since she joined the show in 2001. She began alongside Regis Philbin in 2001, replacing Kathie Lee Gifford after her exit from the series she and Philbin helped rise to national prominence.

Shortly after celebrating his and Ripa’s 10th anniversary together, Philbin announced his exit from Live. His last show was in November 2011 (Philbin died in July 2020 at the age of 88).

Michael Strahan stepped in from there, hosting the show from September 2012 until April 2016, when it was announced he would leave Live to join Good Morning America full-time. Seacrest made his debut nearly a year later.

The radio star, who also joined as an executive producer, had initially signed on to host the show for three years and ended up staying on for six.

Meanwhile over the years, Conseulos — who has been married to Ripa since 1996 — has stepped in to guest-host multiple times, including during times Seacrest was away filming Idol.

“As a fan-favorite 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.”

“Goodbyes are never easy, but we look forward to welcoming Ryan back regularly with open arms,” added Gelman.

In Mark’s case, it pays to have a wife with some pull at the network. We’re not even mad!

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