The TV pro tells PEOPLE he was feeling the heat from his competition


Ryan Seacrest may have gotten the job as Live‘s new co-host, but the TV pro says he was feeling the heat from his competition.

“I hosted earlier this year and every time you’re in that seat you’re thinking, ‘Gosh, if this ever works out, then this is the audition tape,’ ” Seacrest, 42 tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. “I would watch the other co-hosts and be like, ‘Darn it, they’re really good. Maybe everyone can do my job.’ ”

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Credit: Jake Chessum

Kelly Ripa welcomed 67 guest hosts before announcing Seacrest was permanently joining her on the beloved morning show this Monday.

“I always say, ‘It’s more like it’s my audition, because it’s about how well the guest hosts like me,’ ” Ripa, 46, tells PEOPLE. “And how well they like the format. A lot of the people that sit in the chair are used to being interviewed and not doing the interviewing.”

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While Ripa says hiring the former American Idol host was a no-brainer, she still has plenty of praise to sing about the other great guest hosts she’s had since her former cohost Michael Strahan‘s departure last May.

“I have to say, I was not disappointed or let down by anybody we had this year,” she says. “They all brought their A-game. It’s so funny — at a certain point you just say, ‘Oh my god, everyone is so talented. I should just leave and let them all fight it out.’ ”

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