Ryan Seacrest Tears Up in Final Episode of "Live With Kelly and Ryan"

Ryan Seacrest's time on "Live With Kelly and Ryan" has come to an end. The host said an emotional goodbye during the April 14 episode, tearing up while watching a montage of clips from his time on the show. "It's not lost on me how fortunate I am to have held this seat for the last six years," he said to his cohost, Kelly Ripa. "I've spent my entire career talking . . . but today it's hard to put into words how deeply I've appreciated being here and being with you, being invited into your homes every day. I'm honored to be part of this family."

Ripa also honored her cohost in the episode. "From the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of all our hearts, we just want to thank you for being an original, authentic addition to this show," she told him. "You are forever our family."

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During the Feb. 16 episode of "Live With Kelly and Ryan," Seacrest announced that he was leaving the long-running ABC syndicated series after six seasons. "Soooo, Kelly and I have some news here," he said, adding that the "tough, tough decision" was something he and Ripa "have been talking about for a long time." "Last year, we spoke and I made the decision to make this my last season as cohost with Kell here on 'Live With Kelly and Ryan.'"

A supportive Ripa, who's been cohosting her show since 2001, championed Seacrest's move, calling him a "gem" and "one of my best friends." "The greatest part of this experience is that you've gone from being a friend to a family member," she added. "You are family to us."

Replacing Seacrest on "Live With Kelly and Ryan" is his cohost's husband, Mark Consuelos, for a rebranded show that'll be called "Live With Kelly and Mark."

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Why Is Ryan Seacrest Leaving "Live With Kelly and Ryan"?

Seacrest didn't reveal his exact reasoning for leaving "Live With Kelly and Ryan" when he announced his exit, but he further addressed his departure from the show in a statement provided to POPSUGAR in February that read, "Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career. She has been an amazing partner, friend, and confidant, and although we will always be a part of each other's lives, I will miss our mornings together."

The TV host then thanked executive producer Michael Gelman and the entire "Live With Kelly and Ryan" staff and crew, adding, "We've made memories to last a lifetime, met some of the most incredible people, and had the warmest welcome into the homes of so many viewers across America. It's been a memorable ride and now I'm excited to pass the baton to Kelly's 'real' husband, Mark."

Of Seacrest's departure, Ripa said in a statement, "I'm so grateful to have spent the last six years beside my dear friend of too many decades to count and will miss starting my days with Ryan. Ryan's energy, passion and love for entertainment is one-of-a-kind." Meanwhile, Gelman added, "Goodbyes are never easy, but we look forward to welcoming Ryan back regularly with open arms. As a fan-favorite guest host for years, Mark is no stranger to the 'Live' family. Having him join the show is so special for us and we're sure that viewers will feel the same."

Ripa later opened up about Seacrest's departure from their show in an interview with Variety, published on March 28, revealing that his decision initially brought on some anxiety. "Ryan and Mark were like, 'What are you nervous about? It's going to be fine.' And I said to them, 'You have to forgive me. I have a little PTSD,'" she said, seemingly referencing the way her last cohost, Michael Strahan, was poached from her show in 2016 without her knowing.

What Will Ryan Seacrest Do After "Live With Kelly and Ryan"?

Seacrest isn't straying too far from the ABC family, as he headed back to the West Coast to remain the host of "American Idol" for season 21. He'll also continue to host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest." Though he's made his official exit from "Live With Kelly and Ryan," he'll still be back to guest host in the future.

Seacrest is the latest TV host to depart from his own show, now joining Trevor Noah, who exited "The Daily Show" in December, and James Corden, who's leaving his late-night talk show this summer.