Ryan Seacrest is leaving “Live with Kelly and Ryan” — and Kelly Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, is taking his place.
Seacrest broke the “bittersweet” news 16 minutes into Thursday’s episode of the morning talk show.
“This is something that [Kelly] 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 co-host,” he told viewers.
“What I plan to do is once ‘American Idol’ starts from Los Angeles later this spring, I’ll head out to the West Coast and host that show,” Seacrest explained of the timeline of his exit, vowing to return “to guest host and fill in” at times.
Calling her outgoing co-host “one of my best friends,” Ripa, 52, noted that Seacrest, 48, was only “supposed to be here for three years” but ended up staying for six. She then shared the news that Consuelos, 51, will permanently replace her longtime pal.
“The only person I can think of that is capable of holding [Ryan’s] torch the way [he has] held it would be my husband, Mark Consuelos, in what Ryan and I are calling the nation’s weirdest social experiment,” she joked.
Seacrest began co-hosting with Ripa in 2017.
The radio personality called the “All My Children” alum his “dream partner” at the time.
As for Ripa, she gushed, “Ryan is a close friend, and his star shines as brightly off camera as it does on.
“His tremendous success is only matched by his impeccable reputation,” she continued. “Plainly said, everyone loves him, and so will our daily viewers.”
Ripa previously worked alongside Regis Philbin from 2001 to 2011 followed by Michael Strahan from 2012 to 2016.
Over the years, Consuelos has filled in for Seacrest on multiple occasions.
The “Riverdale” star has been married to Ripa since 1996, and the couple share three children: Michael, 25, Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19.
“It’s so weird when you’re here because I just saw you at home,” Ripa joked to Consuelos during a 2020 episode. “Ryan I see all the time, of course, but I never leave him and then go to work and there he is.”
The actress clarified that she “loved” having her husband at her side.
“If I had known [about the show’s issues] going in, I wouldn’t have done it,” she said of fighting between Philbin and the network. “Luckily, ignorance is bliss.”
As for Strahan, Ripa and the retired NFL player “couldn’t stand each other,” a source told Page Six in 2016, alleging, “Whenever they communicated off-camera, it was always through their reps.”