Ryan Seacrest is no longer a morning person.
The 48-year-old said farewell to Live With Kelly and Ryan on Friday after hosting alongside Kelly Ripa for nearly six years. It was an action-packed send-off, with the show dubbed "Bye Bye, Ry Ry," as they shared "Ryan Moments" through the years while his parents, sister and girlfriend looked on in the audience. The episode, filled with tears and laughs, also included a VIP guest — first lady Jill Biden — and Ripa's new co-host, her husband Mark Consuelos, who arrived at the end, wheeling in a cake.
"Kelly turned the corner and said, 'Oh my gosh — am I going to cry?'" Seacrest said at the top of the show. "I said, 'Maybe — because I am.'"
Ripa added, "We promised ourselves that we would not do this because it is a great day of celebration around here."
— LIVEKellyRyan (@LiveKellyRyan) April 14, 2023
And that's really what it was. There were so many flashback moments, including Seacrest's first ever appearance on the show in 2005 before he was host. Then they revisited highlights from when he started the job, on May 1, 2017, through his last day — videos of Seacrest dancing, dressed up in many different costumes and out and about experiencing NYC as an L.A. transplant. Fans even voted on their favorite moment of him on the show, which was when he fell over in his seat trying to get a balloon (the clip played at least three different times).
Michael Bublé made a pre-recorded video for him — and so did Seacrest's niece, Flora, stealing the show. Biden, there to promote efforts with military families, came out telling Seacrest, "We're really going to miss you." Before the trio joked about whether Live ever really played at the White House. (She kindly insisted yes.)
While there were so many cute and silly flashbacks, it was really the words of praise back and forth between the co-hosts that stood out. Ripa made Seacrest laugh and cry, describing him as her "younger brother/oldest son," talking about their "dependent relationship" and comparing him a Bloomin' onion with his "layers upon layers" of goodness, kindness, charm, brilliance, authenticity and generosity. She teased him about his love of the good life, satin bed sheets and special coffee, as well as his pre-show vocal warmups that have to be heard to be believed.
Part of her speech was saying that the show reserves the right to troll him on all social media platforms. She also said to the notorious bachelor— as his girlfriend, Aubrey Paige, sat in the audience — that they'll keep their mailing addresses the same "in case there's ever a wedding invitation."
But there was so much love. She said that Seacrest — as American Idol host and on his radio show — has always highlighted the talents of others during his career. "But on our show, I feel like you got to show off your immeasurable talents to the world, to our audience, to our viewers."
Ripa thanked him for being "wonderful, "one of a kind" and "an original authentic addition to this show. She said, "You are forever our family. We will never say goodbye to you. We will only say, 'See you soon' and 'We love you.'"
Seacrest joked that there is "nobody in the world that can have you ... laughing and crying in 2 seconds" as Ripa both celebrated and roasted him.
"Listen, I'm a very lucky guy," he said. "I want you all to know it's not lost on me how fortunate I am — fortunate to have this seat next to you, Kel, for six years. You're incomparable. There is no one like you." And while he's "spent my entire career talking," he said, "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 to try to deliver a smile or a laugh or two."
I’m going to miss my Live family, there’s no other place like it. I’m truly grateful and honored to have been a part of it for 6 years. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/1ihXrEjwOW
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) April 14, 2023
He praised the producers and crew, saying of Live, "This is a special place. There's no place like this on television. I got to learn that." He added that he really does "feel like a family member" to Ripa, "And we'll have that forever."
After Kelly presented Seacrest with Live With Kelly and Ryan swag, including two show signs, the show concluded with a Champagne toast with Seacrest's parents, Connie and Gary, sister Meredith and girlfriend on the stage. At that moment, Consuelos appeared, rolling out a cake that looked like a sardine box.
Consuelos said he'll never forget Seacrest calling him after he was tapped to be his successor. He said Seacrest offered him his "support and assurance." He told him, "I love you."
"Congratulations," Seacrest replied, as he ceremoniously passed his morning mug to his replacement, saying, "It's going to be fun to watch."
On Feb. 16, Seacrest announced his departure from the long-running morning show for which he and Ripa won the Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host in 2019. He said, "When I signed on to host Live in 2017 it was meant to be for three years, but I loved the job and working with Kelly so much that I extended my time and last year I made the decision to stay on for one more final season."
The same day, Consuelos was announced as his replacement. The Riverdale actor starts, alongside his wife, on Monday.
Seacrest's goodbye marked a pretty perfect farewell show, especially for Ripa, whose last two co-hosts blindsided her with their exits. Regis Philbin, who Ripa worked with from 2001 to 2011, didn't tell her he planned to announce his retirement on the air, leaving her stunned. Michael Strahan was hired as Phibin's replacement in 2012, but left the show in 2016 to join Good Morning America, which Ripa wasn't consulted about.
Ripa told Yahoo Entertainment last year that she found a "unique working situation" with Seacrest "because we have had a 20-year friendship. We do know each other's thoughts and we do understand how the other person thinks and where their limits are and where the line is." They also vacation together with their partners and Seacrest is close to her children, who consider him a "funcle" she said on Friday's show.
Seacrest will continue hosting Idol and his radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, as well as producing, including The Kardashians. He also runs his Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which was spotlighted on Friday's show, which builds broadcast media centers in pediatric hospitals for patients to explore radio and TV from their hospital rooms.