The start of something new. Kelly Ripa joked that retiring from Live is always on her mind as husband Mark Consuelos prepares to step in as cohost.
The New Jersey native and the Riverdale actor, both 52, opened up about their professional collaboration during an interview with Entertainment Weekly published on Sunday, April 16 — one day before Consuelos’ official debut on the daytime talk show.
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“Every time you get a new cohost, it’s like a little jolt of energy,” Ripa explained. “But to be clear, I am always thinking about retiring. It is my favorite topic of discussion.”
Us Weekly confirmed in February that Ryan Seacrest was leaving Live With Kelly and Ryan after nearly six years. His final episode aired on Friday, April 14.
“I just want to say a few words to you. It’s on behalf of myself and all of us — but mostly me,” Ripa began during an emotional tribute to the American Idol host, 48. “This has, without question, been the fastest six years of my life. And although you and I have been friends for decades and decades, I feel like I’ve gained through this process a younger brother / oldest son.”
She added: “I am so grateful that our success together on this show has led to us developing an even closer — yet codependent — relationship.”
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Seacrest, meanwhile, called himself a “lucky man” for getting to work alongside Ripa for so long. “I so appreciate your leadership, your love, your wisdom and I really do feel like a family member and we will have that forever,” he gushed.
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Before entering the latest chapter of Live, Ripa told EW that she has nothing but love for her former cohost. “I commend Ryan for lasting as long as he did because I really had my concerns. We’re friends, we’re open, we’ve talked about this in the past, but, of course, I had my concerns about him picking up and moving to New York because it’s not as easy as one thinks it might be,” she explained. “The sacrifices he made are not lost on me, and I really think he did it for as long as he possibly could.”
The Live Wire author confessed that she “always envisioned” that there would be “somebody new coming in to work with Ryan” instead of him being the one to leave. In aiming for the most “seamless” transition, the former soap opera actress noted that it “made perfect sense” for Consuelos to fill Seacrest’s shoes.
“A daily morning live talk show is nothing without its consistency and continuity. And Mark provides that, not just for our audience, but for me, for our producers. And so if anybody could make me stay, it is definitely Mark,” she added.
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However, Ripa doesn’t see herself staying on the air forever. “I am not one of these people that is like, ‘The show can’t go on without me,’” she said. “I am a fan of Live since before I got there. … It is a franchise show; I don’t believe the show begins and ends with any one host — I think it’s collaborative. And I think the next few years provide endless opportunities to test new people out and see what the next iteration of the show will be beyond Mark and me. So it’s a real thought process I always have.”
Consuelos had previously appeared alongside his wife as a guest host on several occasions before taking the gig permanently. “The only difference I see now is that I’ll have a little more time to prepare,” he told the outlet ahead of his debut. “I think my approach would be to do just like I did before: Be present, have a lot of fun, be awake — you gotta be awake. … Also, my partner’s arguably the best in the business at this format. I know she’s not going to let me screw up too bad.”
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