It’s “Live With Kelly…. And Ryan Seacrest”

Kelly Ripa (left) and Ryan Seacrest. (Disney/ABC)

The Golden Boy ascends to another gig – the highly coveted co-host slot on Live

While it is a surprise to some (really?), Monday’s announcement of Ryan Seacrest as the new co-host of Live With Kelly gives the long-running franchise more name power.

The venerable personality, who was host of American Idol and seemingly a million other things started in his new gig today opposite Kelly Ripa. Seacrest was rumoured to be in the running to take the place of now-departed Michael Strahan, who left last year to take a full-time gig at Good Morning America. Other names floated around to take the vacant seat included Anderson Cooper and Bravo’s Andy Cohen (who yours truly thought was a better choice.) Effective today, the show is renamed Live With Kelly and Ryan.

It could be worse: at least it’s not Live With Kelly and Wil Wheaton or Live With Kelly and Mancow.

Despite relocating to New York, Seacrest remains as host of his KIIS-FM morning show in Los Angeles and American Top 40, which he took over from Casey Kasem in 2004. As part of the deal with Disney/ABC, KIIS owner iHeartMedia will build a radio studio for Seacrest at ABC-owned WABC-TV in New York. While there is an overlap between when Seacrest does Live (at 9 a.m. ET) and his L.A. radio show (which starts at 6 a.m. PT), the first hour of his morning show will be filled in by his staff, and some voice-tracking by Seacrest is possible. This isn’t new: according to posts I’ve seen on message boards, WGN-AM host Steve Cochran often arrives minutes after his morning show starts with his staff filling in, or something like that.

You wonder however, how listeners to Ryan Seacrest’s show in Los Angeles feel about him moving to New York, making it feel “less than” a local show. With iHeartMedia also owning WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York, Seacrest could be available to do work for them as well. Seacrest’s KIIS show (minus traffic and weather segments) is also syndicated to radio stations throughout the country as On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, the same name of his short-lived 2004 syndicated TV show.

Just this past week, reports surfaced iHeartMedia may file for bankruptcy to protect itself from creditors and the company “might not last another year”. But despite those troubles, it is full steam ahead (as I said a few weeks ago…  you can always find a way to pay the freight when you’re evil.)

For stations carrying Live, this is good news as Kelly & Ryan is facing tough competition this fall from former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who is taking over the third hour of Today. Live airs at 9 a.m. in most markets, including Chicago’s WLS-TV, who re-acquired the Live franchise in 2013.

Ratings for Live have remained strong in despite of the changes – according to Nielsen, the series recently earned a 2.2 household rating in the latest syndication ratings report. In Chicago however, Live slipped behind WGN’s morning newscast, which finished first in February at 9 a.m. in households and in women 25-54, marking the first time in 33 years a station other than WLS-TV has won the time slot – one historically dominated by Oprah Winfrey.

Reviews for Seacrest’s and Ripa’s first show haven’t been stellar. Mashable’s headline was “Get Ready for Live with Kelly and Zzzzz.” In a bit of an awkward moment, Kelly Ripa revealed on the show when she first lost her virginity (not exactly “zzzz”, but “way too early in the day of this kind of stuff.”)

As for Twitter, a lot of people figured given all the jobs Ryan Seacrest holds, he could be single handedly driving up the unemployment rate.

I mean, can you just feel the excitement?

And yours truly – early Monday morning, said this when a choice for a Live co-host was near:

Sorry, America. Never should have brought up his name.

In addition to what was mentioned above, Seacrest is also host of numerous E! Live Red Carpet specials, in addition to ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and executive produces a number of shows, including those for the Kardashians and has dramas in development at CBS. But it won’t stop there: Seacrest is aiming for world domination here. Here are other “jobs” Ryan Seacrest is aiming for:

– Chicago Bulls GM. Can’t be any worse than the two people currently in charge of the organization, right?

– Mayor of Chicago. Wait…is any difference between Rahm and Seacrest? Nah.

– Governor of Illinois. Only Ryan Seacrest can unite the state’s Democrats and Republicans…in hatred of him. Boom, we have a new budget.

– Chairman of Chicago Public Schools. I can see it now…mandatory courses in how to run a business the Ryan Seacrest way. Oh, won’t someone think of the children?

– President and CEO of Tronc. Michael Ferro talks in the same idiotic corporate speak as Seacrest. They would be perfect for one another.

– President of the United States. Oh God no. We already have an embarrassing TV personality in the White House, thank you very much.

– CEO of Hydra. Perfect. Hail Hydra.

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