Entertainment TV Ryan Seacrest Is 'Excited About the Next Chapter' After 'Live' — Find Out What New Plans He's Cooking Up A source close to the departing Live co-host tells PEOPLE that he and Kelly Ripa "have been friends for 20 years and have become like family, Ryan is excited to come back and guest-host in the future" By Kelly Wynne Kelly Wynne Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines and Elizabeth Leonard Published on February 16, 2023 12:29 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Raymond Hall/GC Images Ryan Seacrest has a lot to look forward to as he steps away from Live with Kelly and Ryan. After the co-host announced his departure from the talk show on Thursday, a source tells PEOPLE Seacrest, 48, had many conversations about stepping away from the show. "It was entirely Ryan's decision," the insider says. "It's been a long time coming and he and Kelly had open conversations about it." The insider also notes that Seacrest will turn his attention to a few new projects, including a potential step into the food industry. "Ryan is excited about the next chapter — there are some other opportunities and he also has interests in the culinary space, both via investments and content." David Becker/Getty Images "He still has [American] Idol, radio and New Year's, of course, and he's going to be opening three more Ryan Seacrest Foundation centers this summer." Ryan Seacrest Departing Live, Kelly Ripa to Be Joined by Husband Mark Consuelos Permanently Seacrest joined Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2017, after former co-host Michael Strahan stepped away from the series. After Seacrest's departure, Kelly Ripa's husband Mark Consuelos will become Ripa's new co-host. The series will be rebranded as Live with Kelly and Mark. Though he's planning to leave the series this spring, Seacrest will still appear on Live from time to time, the insider says. "Kelly and Ryan have been friends for 20 years and have become like family, Ryan is excited to come back and guest-host in the future." Lisa Rinna, Tamron Hall and More React to Ryan Seacrest's Exit from Live — and Mark Consuelos's New Gig LIVEKellyandRyan/Youtube Seacrest confirmed on Instagram he's on the brink of "transitioning out" of the show — and seemingly New York City since many of his other projects are based in Los Angeles. Seacrest also called it "bittersweet" to leave Live. "Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career," he said in a statement. "She has been an amazing partner, friend, and confidant, and although we will always be a part of each other's lives, I will miss our mornings together." 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).