Ryan Seacrest is saying goodbye to Live with Kelly and Ryan and his replacement is someone very familiar to co-host Kelly Ripa.
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 wasn’t 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, 41, 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.”