Ryan Seacrest is leaving ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan,’ but his replacement will keep it in the family

What can you say besides “Seacrest out?” Ryan Seacrest announced he is leaving the syndicated morning talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan” after six seasons. Mark Consuelos, actor and husband of co-host Kelly Ripa, will take Seacrest’s seat as the show gets rebranded to “Live with Kelly and Mark.” 

Seacrest made the announcement during Thursday’s episode of “Live.” He said that he and Ripa had been talking about making this change “for a long time” and that it’s been a “tough, tough decision.” 

“Last year we spoke and I made the decision to make this my last season as co-host,” Seacrest said. He described his exit as “bittersweet.”

He said that he’ll be officially leaving “Live” once “American Idol” Season 21 starts doing live shows in Los Angeles later in the spring, but he will return to New York, where “Live” tapes, to occasionally fill in as guest host. “You’re not getting rid of me,” he joked. Later, Ripa acknowledged how “exhausting” it’s been for Seacrest to constantly travel back and forth between New York and Los Angeles, and joked that she knows how hard New York’s winters have been on him. 

Ripa and Seacrest both got choked up during the announcement, in which they heaped praise on each other. Ripa said that Seacrest is “a gem” and that over the course of his time on the show he has “gone from being a friend to a family member.” Seacrest told Ripa that he loves and respects her, and reflected on how there’s nothing like getting to connect with people every morning in their homes, being part of their daily lives. 

Seacrest said that when he started working on the show, he signed on for three years, “but three turned into six because of the genuine fun of being on this television show.” 

“Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career,” Seacrest said in a separate statement provided to the press. “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. It’s been a memorable ride and now I’m excited to pass the baton to Kelly’s ‘real’ husband, Mark.”

“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,” said Ripa. “Ryan’s energy, passion and love for entertainment is one-of-a-kind.”

“Live” has gone through many hosts and titles throughout its 40-year run. It started in 1983 as “The Morning Show,” which hit its stride in 1985 when Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford) joined Regis Philbin at the hosts’ table. The name changed to “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” in 1988, and then to “Live! With Regis and Kelly” when Ripa joined in 2001 after Gifford’s departure. After Philbin retired in 2011, Ripa hosted “Live! With Kelly” with various co-hosts while the show searched for a permanent co-host. The addition of Michael Strahan made it “Live with Kelly and Michael” from 2012 until 2016, when he abruptly left to join “Good Morning America” full-time. Seacrest joined later that year. 

“Live” is the country’s top-rated syndicated talk show across the key Nielsen measures of Households, Total Viewers, and Women, according to Hello Magazine

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