Kelly Ripa on Monday announced that former American Idol emcee Ryan Seacrest would permanently fill the Live seat left open since Michael Strahan’s departure. The show will now be known as Live With Kelly & Ryan.
The surprise, teased by Ripa on social media Sunday, was revealed an hour before the show’s first airing Monday when CNN reported that Seacrest was the show’s new pick.
“Today is a very good day,” Ripa told the show’s studio audience at the top of the broadcast, thanking all of her guest co-hosts over the past year before strongly hinting that Seacrest was her new sidekick by saying she’d share the news… “after the break” — a callback to Seacrest’s Idol career.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be here with you,” Seacrest said once Ripa introduced him, joking about how, in an effort to keep the new gig secret, he’d had to duck down in the backseat of a car when entering the studio’s parking area earlier that morning.
Strahan exited the mid-morning talk show for a full-time gig on Good Morning America in May 2016. Ripa has since been joined by a bevy of guest hosts — including Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Fred Savage and Jerry O’Connell — on the temporarily retitled Live With Kelly.
Seacrest has been a guest host five times in the past year. As you’ll recall, Ripa sat out multiple tapings of Live after being blindsided by the news Strahan was leaving to fully commit to GMA.
Thoughts on Seacrest’s new gig? Surprised by Live‘s pick? Should the show have gone in a different direction? Watch Seacrest’s entrance in the video below, then hit the comments!