At a recent telecast of Live With Kelly and Ryan, co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest rarely left each other’s sides. “They kept making each other laugh,” an audience member observed. “They are very in sync with each other.” It seems Kelly and Ryan really are friends. “With Ryan, Kelly feels like she’s met her match,” an insider told Closer Weekly. “She says this has been the best few months she’s had on the show since she joined 16 years ago.”
After an exhaustive, yearlong search, Ryan, 42, replaced co-host Michael Strahan — who left abruptly in May 2016 to join Good Morning America. Michael’s departure blindsided Kelly, 47, but now, after a few months together, Kelly and Ryan’s warm camaraderie has reinvigorated Live. It consistently draws in more than 2.5 million viewers, beating Megyn Kelly Today. “You put them together, and it’s one plus one makes 10,” raved executive producer Michael Gelman.
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Kelly is relaxed and happy with Ryan, her first choice as a co-host, whom she says “is sincere and authentic.” And working together has only deepened their off-camera friendship, which predated his arrival on the show. “They talk to each other about their lives,” says a second insider. “They even co-hosted a Halloween party this fall.” At work Kelly “feels like Ryan has her back,” the insider said. And it’s clear the pair are excited about nurturing their partnership. “Working day-to-day has been a learning and growing experience for both of them,” the second insider reveals. But to Ryan, their quick success is no mystery. He says simply, “I’m genuinely excited to see her every morning!”
Ryan and Kelly are so close, in fact, that the mom-of-three is reportedly "pressuring" her co-host to get engaged to his girlfriend, Shayna Taylor, ASAP. "Kelly is pushing Ryan to put a ring on it. She and [her husband, Mark Consuelos], told Ryan he's not getting any younger and he won't find anyone better than Shayna," an insider recently revealed to Life & Style magazine. "They told him he needs to be married before he turns 45. [They] ganged up on Ryan and told him he needs to pop the question or else he'll lose Shayna."