'Live with Kelly' finds its co-host: Ryan Seacrest to join Kelly Ripa on 'Live with Kelly and Ryan'

Seacrest IN!

Ryan Seacrest will take his seat alongside Kelly Ripa for "Live with Kelly and Ryan," ABC announced Monday. Ripa officially broke the news live on air, launching the episode with a tantalizing tease.

"Today, the next chapter of the 'Live' story is about to be written," she said. "Today, my new cohost will officially be joining me on 'Live,' and today is a very good day."

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Ripa then thanked the many co-hosts who appeared on her show over the past year, many of whom were in the running for the permanent gig: Fred Savage, Joel McHale and Jerry O'Connell were seemingly frontrunners, while guest hosts like Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen were more of a far shot. Many fans thought that Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, might land the coveted co-host title.

The news comes more than a year after former co-host Michael Strahan unexpectedly left the show to join "Good Morning America" -- and just about the same amount of time since Seacrest wrapped "American Idol," which he hosted for fifteen years. Seacrest is also known for hosting E!'s Live on the Red Carpet, ABC's New Year's Rockin Eve, and radio show "On Air with Ryan Seacrest."

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"Ryan is a quintessential broadcaster and at the top of his game. I am thrilled to start my mornings with him every day, and we are so fortunate at 'Live' to have him join the family," Ripa said in a statement. "Ryan is a close friend and his star shines as brightly off camera as it does on. His tremendous success is only matched by his impeccable reputation. Plainly said, everyone loves him, and so will our daily viewers."

Ripa and Seacrest first worked together in 2005, when they co-hosted the Walt Disney Christmas Parade -- and then were invited back for three more years. Since Strahan's departure, Seacrest has occasionally co-hosted with Ripa, including during her post-Oscars show.

"Not only is Kelly Ripa one of the most talented live hosts in broadcast TV; she's also become a very dear friend to me over the years," Seacrest said in a statement. "It's consistently been my privilege and pleasure to work alongside Kelly with all her incredible talents, charm and humor – whether hosting the Disney Christmas Day Parade special with her a decade ago or guest co-hosting alongside her on 'Live,' it's always just been easy and fun to share a set with her, and we have a blast."

See photos of Kelly Ripa through the years