Ryan Seacrest's Departure From Live Didn't Last Long

He's back! Television personality and producer Ryan Seacrest announced back in February that his time as a co-host alongside his colleague and friend Kelly Ripa on the morning talk show "Live with Kelly and Ryan" was coming to a close. "I made the decision to make this my last season as co-host with Kell here on 'Live with Kelly and Ryan,'" Seacrest revealed during the bombshell episode. "What I plan to do is once 'American Idol' starts from Los Angeles live later in the spring I'll head out to the West Coast and host that show, the 21st season of 'American Idol,' from Los Angeles," he explained. 

While Seacrest noted that the decision was "bittersweet," he also promised the show's viewers that they hadn't seen the last of him. "You're not getting rid of me because I'm coming back to guest host and fill in right here in this chair," he vowed. Ripa also announced during the same episode that it would be none other than her husband, Mark Consuelos, who would replace Seacrest.

But now it appears that the time for Seacrest's return has already come! But why so soon? Here's everything we know about Seacrest's quick return to his old talk show gig.

Ryan Seacrest is promoting the American Idol finale

Ryan Seacrest's worlds are colliding! As reported by People, Seacrest is set to make a guest appearance at his old stomping grounds on "Live with Kelly and Mark" (formerly known as "Live with Kelly and Ryan" when he was co-host) on May 18. But why exactly? To promote the Season 21 finale of "American Idol," of course. The story goes that Seacrest will be making his rounds in the Big Apple to drum up even more excitement and anticipation for the competition show's final episode set to air on Sunday, May 21, and a source told the NY Post that he's "looking forward to it."

It probably comes as no surprise that the season finale episodes of "American Idol" are always popular with the viewers, but as it turns out, they're Seacrest's favorite too. "We're looking down to that card and saying, 'The next American Idol is,'" Seacrest recently gushed to Entertainment Tonight about his excitement for the show's finales. "I mean, that's the best part for me ... I get excited."

Seacrest in! (again)

Kelly Ripa is about to be in the middle of a man sandwich — which isn't a bad situation. For a few hours, the morning host will be flanked by her real-life husband/co-host and her former work husband/co-host, whom Mark Consuelos replaced a little more than a month ago. Still, the TLC cameras can stay away, as there's no drama here.

Seacrest built a close rapport with Ripa during his six seasons on "Live With Kelly and Ryan." The couple's chemistry was palpable, and they became so comfortable that she often (jokingly) referred to Seacrest as her second husband. And they were like an old married couple with their inside jokes and bickering. "He doesn't listen," Ripa complained to the camera during a video clip of her and Seacrest wandering backstage before starting filming. "He's like my other husband. It's like having two husbands. Now two men don't listen to me." Seacrest busted out with a classic husband response. "I was holding the door open for you," he explained lamely.

Ripa and Seacrest didn't just spend excessive time together on-camera; they hung out off-set, too. The mom-of-three regularly shared Instagram snaps of the kids and her two husbands chilling — and she made no secret that she considered her ex-co-host part of the Consuelos-Ripa ménage. "Halloween is a family business," she captioned a montage of pics, including her and Seacrest dressed up. "Here are a few faves over the years."

Ryan who?

There's no doubt that Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest became close during their six seasons of co-hosting. There's also no doubting the genuine tears they both shed as they said goodbye. However, don't slam the door on the way out, Ryan! Ripa was thrilled to have her "first husband," Mark Consuelos as her new co-host. "To have Mark join me at that desk every day, it's a dream come true," Ripa told People. "We've been so uniquely blessed." She promised that with the two of them co-hosting "Live!" the morning show would be "off the rails."

However, Twitter was flooded with negative reviews and opinions — as usual. "It was a really dumb idea to have them together in the first place; it's going to be boring," wrote one viewer. "Enough of the innuendos.. idk it seems off to me," commented another. According to the Daily Mail, viewers complained about the couple's "fake banter" and criticized Ripa for constantly interrupting and speaking over Consuelos — which, in fairness, she did with Seacrest, too. (Ripa's the main star; it's her prerogative.)

Well, haters will always hate, but the numbers don't lie. Deadline reports that during the first two weeks of Consuelos joining the show, there's been an annual increase in both ratings and viewers: 7% and 6%, respectively. In fact, their first week of broadcasting attracted the show's biggest audience since May 2020.