February 16, 2023
Kelly Ripa's morning talk show will soon be a family affair, as co-host Ryan Seacrest announced during Thursday's broadcast that he's exiting "Live with Kelly and Ryan" in the coming weeks to focus on other projects. Ripa's husband, actor Mark Consuelos, will take Seacrest's place on a rebranded "Live With Kelly and Mark" beginning in April.
Seacrest is headed back to Los Angeles to focus on live shows for "American Idol," which he has hosted since its inception on FOX in 2002. The reality singing show now airs on ABC, the same network as "Live."
Ripa, a Berlin, Camden County native, has been involved the long-running ABC morning talk show since 2001, when she joined one of original "Live" hosts, Regis Philbin. After Philbin retired in November 2011, Ripa was joined on the show by dozens of guest hosts, among them Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Parsons, Kim Kardashian, Tyler Perry, Seth Meyers, Josh Groban and Michael Strahan.
Strahan eventually landed the permanent gig in September 2012 and the former New York Giant remained on the show until 2016, when he abruptly left to join "Good Morning America." Seacrest was chosen as his full-time replacement in 2017.
In a six-minute clip on the show's YouTube channel, Ripa thanked Seacrest for years of support and the sacrifices he had made to be a part of the talk show, like traveling back and forth from New York City to Los Angeles to film episode of "American Idol" and "Live." Seacrest has said he could return to the show to fill-in for Consuelos as a guest host.
"You are a gem," Ripa said. "You are one of my best friends, and the greatest part of this entire experience has been that you've gone from being a friend to a family member ... I'm so proud of you and I cheer you on endlessly."
Seacrest, who initially signed on for three seasons of "Live With Kelly and Ryan," agreed to stay on for a total of six in addition to his work as host of "American Idol," ABC's "Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve" and his own radio show. He previously co-hosted the E! Network's "Live On The Red Carpet," exiting that program after 14 years in 2021.
Ripa bid farewell to Seacrest and welcomed her husband on board in an Instagram post Thursday morning, noting that they've finally reached the "contractual obligation" phase of their nearly 27-year marriage.
Consuelos and Ripa met as co-stars on former ABC soap opera "All My Children" in 1995. Ripa told the Radio Andy podcast in 2018 that she knew Consuelos was the one while looking though headshots of actors auditioning to play her character's husband on the show. The couple eloped the following year, and have three adult children.
These days, they spend a lot of time paying tribute to one another on social media, or joking about being empty nesters on "Live On Kelly and Ryan," where Consuelos has filled-in for Seacrest on occassion.
In his recent appearance on Jan. 30, the couples joked about their 21-year-old daughter returning home before her last semester of college and walking into their bedroom unannounced.
She also sharmed some interesting details about the earliest days of their relationship in her recent memoir, "Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories," including that the two broke up briefly five days before they married in 1996.
The couple will co-executive produce Ripa's upcoming Sirius XM podcast, "Let's Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa," where the actress will appear weekly with a celebrity guest, Deadline reported.
Watch the announcement of Seacrest's exit and Consuelos' hosting gig in the video below.