Ryan Seacrest’s absence created ‘tension’ on ‘Live’
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Ryan Seacrest’s absence created ‘tension’ on ‘Live’
Ryan Seacrest’s departure from “Live with Kelly and Ryan” came as no surprise to those on set.
In fact, the 48-year-old star often seemed exhausted before leaving Live With Ryan and Kelly, leaving friends and co-workers worried about him, multiple sources told Page Six.
As of 2018, the multimillionaire shoots “Live,” which earns him $10 million a year, in New York City, as well as “American Idol” and his syndicated radio show “On Air With Ryan Seacrest.”
Fatigue has been responsible for Seacrest missing an increasing number of “live” shows over the past six months, an industry insider has revealed.
It all led to ABC executives quietly formalizing a deal last week to have Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, take over as her co-host full-time. According to sources, only a small group of people were privy to Consuelos’ plan. Consuelos replaced Seacrest frequently, including for a week last October.
“Some of Ryan’s absences have created tension between everyone involved in the show,” the source said. “But everyone cares about him and respects him and just wants to make sure he’s okay.”
His co-host and longtime friend, Ripa, 52, who has a $20 million-a-year contract, has rarely missed a day in her 23 years on the show.
“They started talking about Ryan’s departure last summer, and when they announced Ryan’s departure, both Kelly and Ryan wanted to leave behind any issues – arising from Ryan’s workplace and other responsibilities,” the source added.
“They have known each other for 20 years, and despite recent tensions, it is a true friendship.”
As revealed by Page Six in May 2020, ABC executives feared that Seacrest was “overreacting” and fans even worried that he suffered a stroke live on air when he appeared to be babbling during the “American Idol” finale. Seacrest later cited “exhaustion” in his issues. He then withdrew from the filming of “Live” less than 30 minutes before the show was scheduled to air.
According to a friend who works at Seacrest, he found the schedule “punishing” and hates living in New York.
Seacrest regularly travels between his homes in Los Angeles and New York, and a person who knows him told Page Six: “It’s not just ‘Live’. Ryan has to travel to the cities of the “Idol” auditions – they just went to Hawaii. It’s exhausting.
“It’s hard to do ‘Live’ every day. It’s a grueling schedule. There are double recordings and he runs between his radio show and “Live”. He’ll have a 10-minute break and they’ll say, “Come and do some one-liners for a radio show.”
It all adds up to more than one person being able to handle it, said a source familiar with Seacrest. “He’s not completely burned out, but he knows himself [and knows] he needs a break. Over the past few years, he has cherished time off with his family and loved ones,” the source said.
“Look, he originally signed up for three years [on ‘Live’] and then signed another three-year contract, so he really enjoyed doing the show.
The source added that Seacrest – who grows his own olive trees and mills olive oil to share with friends – is eager to work even more in the culinary space: “He’s really interested in learning about winemaking, he has a passion for cooking and that’s exactly what things he wants to invest.
Seacrest, who is estimated to have a net worth of $450 million, will now move full-time back to the West Coast, where recently sold his Beverly Hills mansion for $51 million. California is also home to his girlfriend, 25-year-old Aubrey Paige, who sent him a Valentine’s Day Instagram message with the caption: “Loving you was the adventure of a lifetime.”
He has a long-standing relationship with ABC and will continue to host “Idol,” for which he paid more than $10 million, along with the network’s “sing-along shows” and his “New York Rocking Eve” special. He also produces “The Kardashians” on Hulu, a streamer owned by ABC Disney’s parent company, and recently premiered the drama “The Watchful Eye” on Freeform, which is also owned by Disney. In addition, the contract with the host of the radio program is valid until 2025.
Seacrest and Ripa announced their departures on Thursday’s “Live” show, where he will continue to star this spring before the show is officially renamed “Live with Kelly and Mark.”
Seacrest noted on the show that leaving was a “tough, hard” decision and a “bittersweet one”.
“Working with Kelly for the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career,” he added in a statement.
“There’s no one like you,” Ripa told him on Thursday’s show, “There’s no one who can really do what you do. I know you both in real life and in TV life. I say this about very few people: what you see is what you get. It’s not a game, it’s a good man. I am endlessly impressed by you.”
Still, an industry insider said, “It was a collective decision that it was time for Ryan to leave.”
Ripa, Seacrest and Consuelos appeared on the air on Friday.
This is the third co-host Ripa has worked with since joining Regis Philbin on the show in 2001, replacing Kathie Lee Gifford. Philbin’s last performance was in November 2011, and he passed away at the age of 88 in July 2020.
Former NFL star Michael Strahan then joined Ripa, hosting the show from September 2012 to April 2016, when it was announced that he would be leaving “Live” to join “Good Morning America” full-time.
But Strahan’s departure was strained, and Ripa is said to have been furious when it turned out she hadn’t even been told about the plans. Strahan said the couple no longer speak. The show went through numerous co-hosts before Seacrest was announced as Strahan’s successor.
One of Ripa’s friends told Page Six: “There’s a huge contrast between Ryan and Strahan leaving, it was by far the best relationship between Kelly’s previous co-hosts. Mark was filling in for Ryan more often and it was the right moment.”
Page Six contacted Strahan’s representative at ABC.
Ripa and Consuelos are now empty housemates in their $27 million Upper East Side home as their 25-year-old son Michael moved out while daughter Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19, are in college.
The couple, who also have homes in the Hamptons, Colorado and the Caribbean, are looking forward to working together after meeting on All My Kids.
“With their children moving out of the house and carving out their own paths, there couldn’t be a better time for them to get back to being friends,” Rip’s friend said.