February 18, 2023 | 9:03
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 his friends and co-workers worried about him, multiple sources told Page Six.
The multi-millionaire has been filming “Live,” for which he gets paid $10 million a year, in New York City, as well as “American Idol” and his syndicated radio show, “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” since 2018.
And fatigue has been responsible for Seacrest missing an increasing number of “live” shows over the past six months, an industry insider has revealed.
This all led to ABC chiefs quietly formalizing a deal last week for Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, to take over as co-host full-time. According to sources, only a small team of people knew about the Consuelos plan. Consuelos has filled in for Seacrest often, including a week-long stint last October.
“Some of Ryan’s absences have created tension with everyone involved with the show,” the insider said. “But everyone cares about him and respects him and just wants to make sure he’s okay.”
Her 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 leaving last summer, and when they announced Ryan’s departure, Kelly and Ryan wanted to put all the issues – stemming from Ryan’s workplace and other responsibilities – that they had behind them,” the insider added.
“They’ve known each other for 20 years and, regardless of recent tensions, it’s a true friendship.”
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Seacrest’s “exhaustion” led to his decision to leave and his absences reportedly caused some “tension” on set.
Seacrest’s departure came as no surprise to those on set.
And fatigue was responsible for Seacrest missing an increasing number of “live” shows.
As Page Six revealed in May 2020, ABC executives feared Seacrest was “overdoing it,” and fans even feared he had suffered a stroke live, when he appeared to insult during the “American Idol” finale. Seacrest later cited “exhaustion” for his problems. He then pulled out of filming “Live” less than 30 minutes before the show aired.
According to a friend who works with Seacrest, he found the schedule “punitive” and hated living in New York.
Seacrest has regularly traveled between his homes in Los Angeles and New York, and a source who knows him told Page Six, “It’s not just ‘Live.’ Ryan has to travel to cities to audition for ‘Idol.’ – They just went to Hawaii. It’s exhausting.
“It’s hard to do ‘Live’ every day. It’s a grueling schedule. There are double tapings and he runs between his radio show and “Live”. He’ll have a 10-minute break and they’ll say, ‘Come do some understudy for the radio show.’
It all adds up to more than one person can handle, said the source who knows Seacrest. “He’s not quite exhausted, but he knows himself (and knows) that he needs a break. For the past two years he has been enjoying his 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 deal, so he really enjoyed doing the show.”
The source added that Seacrest – who grows his own olive trees and has pressed olive oil to share with friends – wants to work even more in the culinary space: “He’s really interested in learning how to make wine, he has a passion for cooking, and that’s the kind of thing he wants to invest in.
Seacrest, who has an estimated fortune of $450 million, will now return full-time to the West Coast, where he recently sold his Beverly Hills resort for $51 million. California is also home to his girlfriend, Aubrey Paige, 25, who sent him a Valentine’s Day message this week on Instagram, captioned, “Loving you has been the adventure of a lifetime.”
He has a long-standing working relationship with ABC and will continue to host “Idol,” for which he paid more than $10 million, alongside the network’s “sing-along shows” and his New York special Rocking Eve. . He’s also a producer of “The Kardashians” on ABC Disney’s parent company-owned streamer Hulu, and recently premiered a scripted drama called “The Watchful Eye” on Freeform, which is also Disney-owned. Along with that, the host’s radio show contract runs until 2025.
Seacrest and Ripa announced his departure Thursday from “Live,” on which he will continue to appear this spring before the show is officially rebranded as “Live with Kelly and Mark.”
Leaving was a “tough, tough” decision, Seacrest noted on the show, and a “bittersweet” decision.
“Working alongside 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 else like you,” Ripa told her on Thursday’s show, “There’s no one who can really do what you do. I know you as well in real life than on TV. I say this about very few people: what you see is what you get. He’s not an act, he’s a good man. I’m so impressed with you.
Still, the industry insider said: “It was a collective decision that now was the time for Ryan to leave.”
Ripa, Seacrest and Consuelos all appeared on air 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 show was in November 2011 and he died aged 88 in July 2020.
Former NFL star Michael Strahan then joined Ripa to host the show from September 2012 until April 2016, when it was announced he would be leaving “Live” to join “Good Morning America” full time.
But Strahan’s departure was rocky and Ripa was reportedly furious when it was revealed she hadn’t even been told of the plans. Strahan said the couple no longer speak to each other. The show went through a number of co-hosts before Seacrest was announced as Strahan’s replacement.
A friend of Ripa’s told Page Six, “There’s a huge contrast between Ryan leaving and Strahan leaving, it was by far the best relationship of Kelly’s previous co-hosts. Mark replaced Ryan more frequently and it was just the right time.
Page Six reached out to Strahan’s rep at ABC.
Ripa and Consuelos are now empty nests in their $27 million Upper East Side home, their son Michael, 25, having moved out, while their daughter Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19, are at the university.
The couple, who also own homes in the Hamptons, Colorado and the Caribbean, are looking forward to working together after meeting on the soap opera ‘All My Children’.
“With their kids out of the house and charting their own paths, now couldn’t be a better time for them to be co-workers again,” the Ripa pal said.