A year after Kelly Ripa went solo following Michael Strahan’s drama-filled exit, she is getting a new permanent co-host on Live With Kelly, American Idol veteran Ryan Seacrest. The popular syndicated talk show has been renamed Live with Kelly and Ryan.
The choice makes a departure from the selection of relative TV novice, former NFL star Strahan, five years ago as Seacrest is one of the most seasoned live hosts working in television after years of Idol, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, his E! red carpet coverage, his radio show and a number of other live hosting gigs.
“Ryan is a quintessential broadcaster and at the top of his game,” said Ripa. “I am thrilled to start my mornings with him every day, and we are so fortunate at Live to have him join the family. 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. Plainly said, everyone loves him, and so will our daily viewers.”
Seacrest, who previously contributed to NBC’s Today and the network’s Olympics coverage under a wide-ranging deal with NBCUniversal and was once rumored to replace Matt Lauer on Today, will make the move to New York immediately to begin his co-hosting duties. He will also serve as an executive producer on Live alongside Ripa and Michael Gelman.
Seacrest will continue hosting and executive producing his morning-drive radio show On Air with Ryan Seacrest for iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, as well as a nationally-syndicated Top 40 radio show. To accommodate that, New York’s ABC7, home of Live with Kelly and Ryan, will house a brand-new iHeartRadio studio for Seacrest’s New York City location.
Seacrest will also continue as host and executive producer of E!’s Live from the Red Carpet award shows, as well as ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and IHeart’s televised events like the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
Seacrest’s Ryan Seacrest Prods., which produces NBC drama series Shades Of Blue, will remain based in Los Angeles.
“With Ryan, Live has a new co-host who is a master of live TV, as well as a terrific interviewer with tens of thousands of hours of live broadcasting experience,” said Gelman. “When you combine those attributes with the talents and experience of the incomparable Kelly Ripa, you have two skilled and entertaining broadcasters, with great chemistry. Add in an experienced production team and a successful 30-year franchise and you have the perfect combination.”
Seacrest served as a guest host on Live with Kelly seven times following Strahan’s departure, including on the post-Oscars Live. This is Seacrest’s second foray into syndication following the On-Air with Ryan Seacrest Twentieth TV talk show, which ran for one season.
Ripa teased the announcement of a new co-host, made during the important May sweeps rating period, on Sunday. It comes at the end of a year of revolving guest hosts after Strahan abruptly left the show following almost four years to join Good Morning America.
Last December, Ripa said there had been an “outpouring of interest” from candidates, but emphasized there was no timetable to fill the seat.
Even though it was a move within the same Disney-ABC family, Strahan’s departure for GMA surprised fans and viewers – as well as Ripa herself who took several unplanned days off from the show, while Strahan’s exit moved up.
The final show for Strahan was on May 13, 2016. Strahan had landed the job in a similar way, after the show held a string of auditions via guest co-host stints following the sudden departure of original host Regis Philbin.
Live with Kelly and Ryan is distributed in national syndication by Disney|ABC Home Entertainment and TV Distribution. The show is produced by WABC-TV in New York and executive produced by Gelman, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest.
You can watch the video of his announcement this morning on the show above.