Atlanta family and friends cheer on Ryan Seacrest’s ‘Kelly Ripa’ co-hosting gig

Ryan Seacrest with his mentor Tommy Sullivan in 2010. CREDIT: Special from Tom Sullivan

This was originally posted Monday, May 1, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Ryan Seacrest’s Atlanta family and former Star 94.1 colleagues were thrilled this morning to hear the news that he not only has nabbed the coveted co-host job on ABC’s “Live With Kelly Ripa” but is also moving to the east coast for the first time in more than 20 years.

“I’m excited to have him on my side of the world,” said his mom Connie Seacrest, who still lives locally. “My phone is blowing up right now!”

She said Seacrest and Ripa have always had good chemistry over the years during his many guest co-hosting opportunities. She even showed up on “Live with Kelly” herself this past November to show off a Thanksgiving oyster casserole, a family recipe, with her son. Ripa, in an interview with the New York Times, said this segment sealed the deal in her mind.

“It’s like he didn’t even know what a kitchen is,” Ripa said. “And I thought: ‘Did we finally find a flaw in this person? Innnteresting.’”

“He’s wanted to do it for a long time,” said Connie, who is active in her son’s foundation, which includes 10 special radio studios in children’s hospitals nationwide, including Atlanta’s Children’s Healthcare at Egleston at Emory. “But there were a lot of things to work out because of the distance.”

Seacrest, who already has an apartment in Manhattan, grew up in Dunwoody and graduated high school there in 1993. He attended the University of Georgia moved to Los Angeles in 1994 after a year at the University of Georgia. He has been a Hollywood person ever since.

This move is a big deal for 42-year-old Seacrest, who hosts a West Coast syndicated morning show out of KIIS-FM studios in Los Angeles. He will have a new studio built in New York so he can continue to do that morning show, though he won’t be able to do his entire West Coast radio show live since the 9 a.m. EST hour for “Ripa” coincides with the first hour of his radio show. Presumably, this does not change his syndicated mid-day show, which is heard locally on Power 96.1. Plus, he will continue with the countdown show “American Top 40.”

VIDEO: 5 things to know about Ryan Seacrest


Former Star 94 night host Darik Kristofer wrote on Facebook that “doing radio in different time zones at the time works because I do the same but it will melt your brain.” He then offered up this advice to the famed workaholic: “I say this as somebody who loves you like a brother, you need to recenter some of that energy on making babies and finally marrying your girl! You’re worth $400 million Learn to say NO!”

From a career standpoint, this new role gives Seacrest his most prominent regular TV hosting job since “American Idol” ended after 15 seasons last year. He continues to do E! red-carpets and his ABC New Year’s special. Plus, he runs his own production company, highlighted by all those “Kardashian” shows. He also has his own clothing line and upcoming skin-care line.

A year ago, Kelly Ripa lost her co-host Michael Strahan to “Good Morning America.” She felt blindsided by the move and has been deliberative about finding a replacement. She has spent the past year with a rotating set of co hosts as ratings have slipped 19 percent.

“I think it’s a win-win for both of them,” said Tom Sullivan, who discovered Seacrest when he was in high school and became his early mentor on radio at Star 94 in the 1991-93 time period. “It brings him back to the daily spotlight. And she needed somebody who could elevate her.”

“God bless him in this industry,” added Dan Blankowski, who was part of the Star morning show when Seacrest was an intern. “You have to make your money while you can!”

This is a natural fit for Seacrest, who has been doing radio for a quarter century. “Live With Kelly” is very much like a radio show on TV. Seacrest also hosted a short-lived solo talk show back in 2004-05.

“My theory has always been that the best TV people are performers with radio experience,” said former Star 94 morning host Steve McCoy to my colleague Jenn Brett. “”Most radio performers ad lib their material and TV’s just the opposite… I used to say he was this generation’s Dick Clark. I think he’s surpassed what Dick Clark did.”

ABC is girding itself for a battle with whatever NBC throws at them. NBC this fall may bring in former Fox News host Megyn Kelly or move Hoda Kotbe and Kathy Lee Gifford from the 10 a.m. hour of the “Today” show.

Not everyone loves the idea of Seacrest as co host. Mara Davis, the “Atlanta Eats” and WABE radio host, finds him anodyne at best: “I don’t think it was her decision. And to be fair, I wasn’t that into Michael Strahan out of the gate. But I respected that they put someone in there who was new, fresh and had an edge. Seacrest is just so vanilla and boring.”

And in case you missed the show this morning:

RELATED: Ryan Seacrest in pictures through the years

 

 

 

 

 

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