Saying goodbye. Ryan Seacrest got emotional while cohosting his final episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan on Friday, April 14.
Seacrest, 48, got misty while listening to Kelly Ripa gush about their six-year partnership.
“I just want to say a few words to you. It’s on behalf of myself and all of us — but mostly me,” Ripa quipped. “This has, without question, been the fastest six years of my life. And although you and I have been friends for decades and decades, I feel like I’ve gained through this process a younger brother / oldest son. … I am so grateful that our success together on this show has led to us developing an even closer — yet codependent — relationship.”
She got choked up as she compared her friend to a “blooming onion.”
“You are layers upon layers of goodness, of kind, of charm, of brilliance, of authenticity and generosity,” Ripa continued. “Your generosity is unmatched.”
He responded with a touching speech of his own.
“I’m a very lucky man, Kelly. I want you all to know, it’s not lost on me how fortunate I am. Fortunate to have had this seat next to you, Kel, for six years. You’re incompatible. There’s no one like you,” he said. “I’ve spent my entire career talking … but today, it’s hard to put into words how deeply I’ve appreciated being here and being with you, being invited into your homes every day to try to deliver a smile or a laugh or two. I’m honored to be a part of this family.”
After thanking the entire staff, Seacrest turned to Ripa and grabbed her hands: “I so appreciate your leadership, your love, your wisdom and I really do feel like a family member and we will have that forever.”
“Kelly and I have some news here. This is something that she and I have been talking about for a long time and it was a tough, tough decision,” he shared after six years on the talk show. “Last year, we spoke and I made the decision to make this my last season as cohost with Kelly here on Live With Kelly and Ryan, which is bittersweet.”
Ripa for her part, opened up about the plans that were put in place ahead of Seacrest’s announcement.
“We are so aware of the importance of continuity and consistency and, like, the familial vibe that we all have here,” she explained. “It only makes sense to not just our viewing audience at home, but our audience here within our staff, our support system, our extended family, to bring in somebody that we know and love and who’s really always been here. The only person I can think of that is capable of, you know, holding your torch the way you have held it. And that would be, my husband, Consuelos, in what Ryan and I are calling the nation’s weirdest social experiment.”
The Georgia native later praised his cohost for the support she showed him over the years. “The hundreds of hours I spent each year flying, it became a lot. It was longer than I anticipated, but it’s because of her and the great people here,” he told Variety in March. “Over the last couple of years, I had said to Kelly, ‘This is not going to be something that’s right for me forever for all the obvious geographical reasons,’ and she understood it.”
Seacrest continued: “I was little bit worried how she would react to that, but because we’re close and she gets my life, she understood. I said, ‘You and I will work together in tandem on when the timing is right for the show, when the timing is right to announce it and when the timing is right to collaborate on who that new person is going to be.’ And it worked out in the most picture-perfect way.”
Before taking over for Seacrest, Consuelos, 52, opened up about his decision to work with his wife. “We figured that since we started our careers together, we might as well finish them together,” the couple, who previously worked on All My Children, Hope and Faith and Riverdale together, exclusively told Us Weekly at the time. “We figured the idea ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ is something we’d definitely like to explore. Now, we have the chance.”
The former soap actress, who shares kids Michael, 25, Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19, with Consuelos, said she was looking forward to the next chapter of her show.
“So many wonderful moments have happened while with ABC, so it only makes sense for us to come full circle and work together once again for the show that has given us so much joy and so many years of memories,” she added.
Following the radio host’s departure, ABC will rebrand the show as Live With Kelly and Mark. Consuelos’ first episode as the new cohost alongside Ripa will air on Monday, April 17.