Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa Reveal His Exit from 'Live' Has Been in the Works for a 'Long Time'

Seacrest announced his departure from Live with Kelly and Ryan on Thursday after six years

Ryan Seacrest's departure from Live with Kelly and Ryan is certainly a shock for fans, but the team behind the popular morning show was well-prepared for this day to come.

As Seacrest revealed his plans to leave the series on Thursday after six seasons, he and co-host Kelly Ripa explained that they've "been talking about for a long time."

"It was a tough, tough decision," said Seacrest, 48. "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 and Ripa said he initially committed to co-hosting the series for three years.

"He was supposed to be here for three years. We were like, 'Oh don't be ridiculous — you already moved your sofa here!'" Ripa, 52, explained as Seacrest responded, "But three turned into six because of the genuine fun of being on this television show every hour of every day."

The radio personality then explained that once American Idol returns this spring, he will "head out to the West Coast and host that show." But he promised to return to "guest host and fill in" on occasion.

LIVE! WITH KELLY AND RYAN - Airs 11/14/22 - “Live! With Kelly and Ryan,” airs weekdays in syndication on ABC
ABC/Jeff Neira

Seacrest expressed his gratitude for his time on the show — and for having Ripa by his side.

"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," he told Ripa. "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. There's nothing like this on television."

LIVE WITH KELLY AND RYAN - “Live with Kelly and Ryan” airs weekday mornings in national syndication
Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. ABC Entertainment

It was also confirmed that Ripa's husband Mark Consuelos, 51, would step in as his replacement. Consuelos's stint will begin in the next few months, though he will be stopping by during Friday's show.

Seacrest previously joined Live in 2017 after Michael Strahan's departure from the series. Strahan, 51, has been with Good Morning America ever since.

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Live with Kelly and Ryan airs weekdays (check local listings).

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