It's officially Live! With Kelly and Ryan!
On Monday morning, Kelly Ripa revealed that former American Idol host Ryan Seacrest would be her permanent co-host on the ABC talk show. "Today the next chapter of the Live! story is about to begin," Ripa exclaimed ahead of announcing her co-host. "Today is a very good day."
Seacrest made his debut as the permanent co-host by walking out hand-in-hand with Ripa in front of the new Live With Kelly & Ryan marquee. "Kelly and I have known each other for a long time and when this happened we were told to keep it a secret and we're not great at that," he noted. Ripa added, "We don't call it a secret anymore in my house, we call it a Seacrest."
"So excited to join this show!!" Seacrest tweeted. "@KellyRipa crushes every morning... one of my favorite people ever
A production source on the show tells ET that the Live! staff is "relieved that the search is over," noting that "it was a lot of work booking guests and a co-host."
In a phone interview with The New York Times, Ripa revealed that she decided Seacrest would make a great addition to Live! when he was guest co-hosting and had an awkward cooking segment with his mother, Connie. “It’s like he didn’t even know what a kitchen is,” she quipped. “And I thought: ‘Did we finally find a flaw in this person? Innnteresting.’”
According to CNN, Seacrest will continue to host his nationally syndicated radio shows on iHeartMedia, and recently renewed his contract to host red carpet specials for NBCUniversal's E! network. The 42-year-old TV personality also hosts ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve special every year.
Seacrest revealed on Live! that he will be living in New York City during the week, but will be returning to his home in Los Angeles on the weekends. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he is also an executive producer of the show.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Strahan on Live! Drama With Kelly Ripa -- 'Everybody's Got the Wrong Impression'
It's been almost a year since Ripa bid farewell to former co-host Michael Strahan last May, after the 45-year-old former NFL star left to take a full-time gig on Good Morning America. Since then, there's been endless speculation about Ripa's new co-host, with early frontrunners including Anderson Cooper, Rob Lowe and Fred Savage.
Ripa's guest co-hosts over the past year have also included Jole McHale, Keegan-Michael Key, Michael Buble, Jussie Smollett, Jerry O'Connell, Nick Lachey and Christian Slater. During Live!'s search for Strahan's replacement, Seacrest guest co-hosted the talk show five times. He also joined Ripa on Live!'s Oscars After Show.
WATCH: Regis Philbin Did Have a Live! Reunion With Kelly Ripa Despite Claiming He Was 'Never Once' Asked Back
Strahan co-hosted Live! for four years, and a source told ET last May that he was able to make amends with Ripa, 46, prior to his departure. "Kelly realized her issue wasn't really with Michael, but the network," a source said. "Are they best friends? No. But there definitely is some peace."
Interestingly enough, Monday also marks another big day for Ripa, as she'll be celebrating her 21st wedding anniversary with husband Mark Consuelos, who's also hosted Live! a few times. The couple tied the knot in 1996 after meeting on the set of All My Children, and have have three kids together -- 19-year-old Michael, 15-year-old Lola and 14-year-old Joaquin.
Ripa shared throwback photos of herself and Consuelos in March on Instagram, wishing the 46-year-old actor a happy birthday and calling him the "best father, husband, friend and regenerator a person could know." Check it out: