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Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest: Is he the secret weapon to success after Regis Philbin left 'Live!' talk show?

Regis Philbin wasn't Kelly Ripa's favorite person to work with, but Ryan Seacrest could be Kelly Ripa's secret weapon when it comes to her 'Live!' reputation.

Did Kelly Ripa strike gold when Ryan Seacrest signed on to co-host "Live! with Kelly and Ryan" in 2017?

Ripa sparked backlash recently for bashing the late "Live!" patriarch Regis Philbin in her first memoir, claiming the legendary broadcaster made her life incredibly difficult behind scenes. She added insult to injury by admitting their communication was almost entirely nonexistent when he retired in 2011.

After Philibin, Ripa was paired up with Michael Strahan for four years before he made a hasty exit from the program for a bigger gig on "Good Morning America."

Now five years into her and Seacrest's working relationship, it appears as though she’s found the perfect person to help her star status shine bright as Seacrest has brought his charming appeal — and rolodex of high-profile contacts — to the daytime TV show table. 

Sources told Fox News Digital that Seacrest was always "easy to work with" even when his plate was overfilled with responsibilities. The budding media mogul not only hosts multiple shows across a variety of platforms, he also works behind scenes as a producer on some of the biggest television shows. He's estimated to be worth $450 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.


"He was a consummate professional and extremely easy to work with," one insider said. "He was very busy, as he is always was doing several jobs at once, but was kind to everyone and well-liked."

It seems as if "Live!" viewers have noticed his hard work as one Instagram user said in part, "The show's ratings go up because of you. She is a boring host," while another added that Seacrest was "the star of that show." 


Seacrest worked for nearly a decade as the afternoon radio host on an alternative station in Southern California before replacing longtime KIIS-FM morning show host, Rick Dees, in 2004. 

In 2002, he made his "American Idol" debut, and has stayed with the program for two decades, through a variety of celebrity judges, directors, networks and reboots. At one point, Seacrest was so highly coveted, that he signed a two-year deal to stay with "Idol" for $30 million.

Simon Cowell, the creator of the popular singing competition show, stepped down as a judge in 2010 to pursue another one of his reality programs, "America's Got Talent." 

In 2017, Seacrest shared a throwback snap with Randy Jackson and Cowell, writing, "They're gonna kill me for posting this #tbt."

Cowell reunited with original judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson during an episode of Kelly Clarkson's talk show and admitted his "No. 1 wish" would be to "make another show" with the original "Idol" crew.

"Our legacy, genuinely, are the artists who we discovered over the seven-year period. That’s what I’m most proud of. The show’s ratings were great, that’s one thing, but it’s who has come through the process and has made it all worthwhile," he said. "And that’s why genuinely, if I could choose who to work with all over again, I would work with these guys again."


While Seacrest was hosting the No.1 watched show in the country, he was also building upon his empire at E! News, and secured a $21 million deal to host red carpet coverage in addition to various programs. One of his biggest moves was creating and earning executive-producer credits for the highest-rated show on the E! network, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."

What was supposed to be an ordinary sushi dinner with Randy Jackson turned into one of the most pivotal meetings of his life when Seacrest was introduced to the Kardashians.

"I remember it so clear," Kim recalled their first introduction while guest co-hosting "Live!" with Ryan in 2017.

"I was having dinner at this restaurant in Los Angeles called Koi," Seacrest said before diving into a conversation he remembered about a meal with Randy Jackson in 2006. 

Seacrest went on, "He and I were having dinner … He says, 'Yo yo yo, Kardashians are over there. They're going to be hot man. They're going to be something."

Kim added, "We were having dinner with our friends. We had no TV show career, aspirations or anything. Randy says to us, 'Man you gotta work with Ryan. You gotta do something, you and Kourtney. You have to do something. We had no idea what he was even talking about." 

"Yo Randy, thank you," Seacrest said before Kardashian added, "I dont think Randy gets credit for that."


"Keeping Up with the Kardashians" first aired in 2007 as a half-hour reality series, and catapult the entire family into celebrity status. The 20th and final season of the show aired in 2021 before moving to Hulu. 

Seacrest then networked his way into multiple spinoffs, including "Khloe and Lamar," "Kourtney and Kim Take New York," and Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami."

Even before Seacrest took on the Kardashians, he was co-hosting "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve" and performed most of the speaking roles due to Clark's limited speech as he recovered from a stroke. The show was renamed to "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest" in 2009, and he took over full executive producer and hosting duties following Clark's death in 2012.

In 2021, ahead of Seacrest's 17th year at Times Square when the ball drops, he signed a multi-year deal extension to continue hosting the New Year's Eve extravaganza for an unknown amount of time.

Seacrest has not been without controversy. In 2018, a former E! stylist accused Seacrest of sexual misconduct, which launched an outside investigation. After a two-month process, the counsel determined "insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations against Seacrest."


Seacrest became Ripa's biggest ally on TV when he joined "Live!" in 2017 for a permanent co-hosting role after Michael Strahan's abrupt exit. 

Strahan, who was notably missing from Ripa's new book despite having been by her side for four years beginning in 2012, announced his resignation from the show only minutes after Ripa found out.

In her new book, she wrote about having trouble working with Philbin from 2001-11, how she was not allowed to use her own hair and makeup team, and didn't receive a wardrobe budget. 

Ripa also noted that her name "had to be smaller than Regis's name on the "Live!" title card and branding. 

She wrote that receiving the offer to host came with a warning, "They want to make sure you know who your boss is."

Despite her tumultuous experience working with Philbin professionally, Ripa recalled enjoying her time with the TV show host in the real world. Philbin passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2020.

"Off camera and outside of that building, it was a different thing," according to Ripa. "The handful of times we spent together, I so enjoyed. We went to the same resort once on vacation, and he came to a dinner I hosted – one of the favorite nights of my life. I never laughed so hard."

A "Live!" insider exclusively revealed a slightly different story to Fox News Digital and said, "Regis just seemed not nice. That's it. Kelly was way more friendly and down to earth." 

However, those close to Philbin, including Kathie Lee Gifford, noted that working with Philbin was a great experience. "I worked with him for 15 years. We never had one unkind word between us," Gifford shared.

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