Entertainment TV Mark Consuelos Excited for 'Amazing' Co-Hosting Gig with Wife Kelly Ripa but Says He Has 'Big Shoes to Fill' On Thursday, Ryan Seacrest announced his departure from the morning talk show, sharing that Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, would replace him By Julia Moore Julia Moore Twitter Julia Moore is a digital news writer at PEOPLE. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has been working at PEOPLE since 2022. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 16, 2023 11:23 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty In the wake of Ryan Seacrest's departure from Live with Kelly and Ryan, Kelly Ripa's husband, Mark Conseulos, is reacting to the news that he's now becoming the show's newest, permanent co-host. Live with Kelly and Mark, as the show will be rebranded, will see Ripa, 52, host alongside Consuelos, 51, who has often been a guest host on the show since she joined in 2001. "This is going to be amazing!" the Riverdale actor wrote in an Instagram post reacting to the news. "I can't believe after all these years of listening to you talk for free, I found a way to get paid for it. Is this a great country or what? ❤️" Consuelos also congratulated Seacrest, 48, on his "next chapter," which includes returning to Los Angeles to host American Idol's upcoming 21st season. Ryan Seacrest Departing Live, Kelly Ripa to Be Joined by Husband Mark Consuelos Permanently "I love you like a brother," he said before joking that he has "big shoes to fill" as he steps into the hosting role. "Well actually they're only a size 9, but you know what I mean." Seacrest's exit was announced during Thursday's broadcast. Afterward, Ripa expressed her appreciation for Seacrest for "surviving six winters" in New York City, sharing that she's "forever in [his] corner." "Welcome home @instasuelos," she added to her Instagram post, addressing her husband and new co-host. "Or to the contractual obligation phase of our relationship." Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. Frazer Harrison/Getty In a statement, the show's executive producer Michael Gelman expressed his excitement at welcoming Consuelous to the Live family. "As a fan-favorite guest host for years, Mark is no stranger to the Live family," Gelman said in a statement. "Having him join the show is so special for us and we're sure that viewers will feel the same." For Seacrest, 48, departing the show after six years was bittersweet. "It was a tough, tough decision," he said during Thursday's broadcast. "Last year, we spoke and I made the decision to make this my last season as co-host with Kel, here, on Live with Kelly and Ryan, which is bittersweet." Seacrest also shared a heartfelt message for Ripa: "I have to say to you as a dear friend coming in and as a best friend in this moment, to have your kindness, your thoughtfulness, your levity, your friendship — I look up to you, I respect you so much." "I love the fact that we get the chance to sit here every day and connect with you at home in your kitchens, your living rooms, at work," he added. "There's nothing like this on television." In a statement Thursday, Seacrest said that "working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career." Though he will miss working closely with his "amazing partner, friend, and confidant" on a daily basis, he is excited for Consuelos to take the reins. "It's been a memorable ride and now I'm excited to pass the baton to Kelly's 'real' husband, Mark," he added. ABC/Jeff Neira Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa Reveal His Exit from 'Live' Has Been in the Works for a 'Long Time' Consuelos' entrance marks the fourth co-host Ripa has worked with since she joined the show in 2001 as Regis Philbin's co-host. Shortly after celebrating his and Ripa's 10th anniversary together, Philbin announced his exit from Live. His last show was in November 2011. (Philbin died in July 2020 at the age of 88.) Michael Strahan stepped in from there, hosting the show from September 2012 until April 2016, when it was announced he would leave Live to join Good Morning America full-time. Seacrest made his debut nearly a year later. For Ripa, the American Idol host was the perfect match, as the two boast a more than 20-year friendship. Soap Opera Couples Who Met and Fell In Love on Set "We've known each other a really long time," she said on the Dear Gabby podcast. "He's the kid brother I never had." Their "really unique off-camera friendship" helped with their on-screen chemistry, Ripa said. "What is unique is that the two of us have, I don't wanna say a psychic ability, but we have a shorthand," Ripa said. "We have an ability to read each other in a way where I know where his breaking points are and he knows where mine are. And so when bad things happen we are able to — behind the scenes — connect and say, 'It's gonna be OK, I'll take this one, I got it.'" Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Live with Kelly and Ryan airs weekdays (check local listings).