Tuesday officially marked the pair’s first 12 months together on Live with Kelly and Ryan. On May 1, 2017, Ripa, 47, finally announced on-air that Seacrest would officially be joining the Live family as her new co-host.
But before Seacrest, 43, permanently took up the seat beside Ripa, she faced a long road in finding a new partner following co-host Michael Strahan‘s surprise announcement last year that he was leaving the show to become a full-time co-anchor on Good Morning America.
For a full year, Ripa welcomed multiple A-list men and women — a total of 67 celebrities — to the show as guest co-hosts, including Jimmy Kimmel, Carrie Ann Inaba, Jussie Smollett, Neil Patrick Harris and Dwyane Wade as well as BFFs Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.
Ripa and Seacrest walked out on the Live stage hand-in-hand to start their journey together as hosts for the popular daytime program.
“Today, the next chapter of the Live story is about to be written,” the mother of three told the audience at the top of the show. “Today, my new co-host will officially be joining me on Live. And today is a very good day.”
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After Ripa and Seacrest finished interviewing Chris Pratt together, the pair shared a sweet champagne toast, with Ripa again thanking Seacrest for taking on the job amidst his already jam-packed schedule.
“This is going to be the most fun that I’ve ever had,” he said as Ripa told him, “Welcome to the family. You fit right in!”
In fact, Ripa and Seacrest hit it off right away with obvious chemistry behind and in front of the camera, and Seacrest quickly became a frequent guest at the Ripa household.
“He knows my whole family,” Ripa told PEOPLE exclusively in May 2017. “It’s like, ‘Oh, Ryan Seacrest is in the house.’ Like that’s a perfectly normal thing to happen.”
Seacrest also made another big move in his life: he began sharing a home with his girlfriend Shayna Taylor in N.Y.C.
First Trip Abroad
In June 2017, Ripa and Seacrest ventured on their first international trip together at Niagara Falls in Canada. Guests included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Orphan Black actress Tatiana Maslany, Howie Mandel, Nathan Fillion as well as musical performers French Montana and Erin Bowman.
The co-hosts went on to film shows from Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas in January.
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American Idol’s Return
In July 2017, it was announced that Seacrest would return as host of the ABC reboot.
“I’ve said this before: you make that show, you are the heart and soul,” Ripa said on-air when she congratulated Seacrest on the job. “And because you make it look so easy, nobody really understands how difficult it is. And only you can do it. I’m so happy!”
“I had said at the end of the series — ‘Goodbye for now,’ hoping somewhere it would come back,” Seacrest admitted.
Before the Idol season aired, Ripa herself even had the chance to audition for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
New Logo, New Look
In September 2017, Live revamped their logo with a more modern look along with the addition of a brand new show opener.
The spooky holiday has become a staple of Live‘s long-running programming and Seacrest’s first costume-filled show was one of the best thus far. The co-hosts transformed into a staggering number of characters, from the Stranger Things kids to Game of Thrones stars to the Kardashians.
But their elaborate Halloween sketches were the ones to take the cake: The co-hosts opened the hour by dressing up as each other before launching into a full-blown mash-up of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
“You were like my fantasy self! I thought you did such a great job, and you looked amazing, and your hair was perfect,” Ripa told PEOPLE exclusively about what she told Seacrest after he dressed up as her for the Halloween episode.
Then in February, the stylist detailed her allegations, claiming that Seacrest sexually harassed and assaulted her over the six years that she was employed by E! from 2007-13, including grabbing her crotch multiple times. The network’s investigation into the matter, conducted by outside counsel, found “insufficient evidence” to support Hardy’s claims.
“Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her. If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result,” Seacrest said in his statement. “I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am. Throughout my 25 years in the entertainment industry, the majority of my co-workers have been women, and I’ve endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that’s how I believe it should be.”
Seacrest concluded: “I’m distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question. I’m proud of my workplace reputation, and believe my track record will speak for itself. I’m an advocate for women. I will continue to support their voices.”
In February, a source told PEOPLE that Ripa is “fully supportive and 110 percent behind [Ryan].”
Shortly after, in March, Ripa defended Seacrest on-air. “I just want you to know, you are a privilege to work with and I adore you. Speaking on behalf of all of us here, I know what an easy, professional, great person you are, and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day,” she said.
First Oscars Show
In March, Seacrest took the Dolby Theater stage in Hollywood to co-host his first official Live After Oscar Show. (He previously joined Ripa for the 2017 installment.)
The pair spoke with Allison Janney, who won the best actress award for her role in I, Tonya.
But while Seacrest received criticism for hosting E!’s red carpet coverage, Ripa was on his side.
“You look amazing,” she told him when she stopped to speak with him on the red carpet. “We were watching you upstairs in the hotel. You’re doing a great job.”
Ripa and Seacrest are scheduled to close out “Kelly and Ryan’s Anniversary Celebration Week” on Friday with a full hour of anniversary celebrations, including highlights of their favorite show memories, top celebrity interviews and their best moments together throughout the year.
Live with Kelly and Ryan airs weekdays (check local listings).