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, blindsiding cohost Kelly Ripa, the show finally announced its permanent cohost: Ryan Seacrest.

Among the names bandied about was Andy Cohen, one of Ripa’s best friends.

But though he guest co-hosted on numerous occasions, he voiced disinterest in taking the job full-time.

Ripa and Seacrest announced the surprise choice at the start of Monday’s edition of the show, which Ripa has hosted since early 2001.

Seacrest’s move into the seat next to Ripa comes nearly a year after Ripa’s former co-host, Michael Strahan, left the Disney-distributed show for an anchor slot on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Ryan is a quintessential broadcaster and at the top of his game,” said Ripa in a statement.

The news comes nearly a year after Michael Strahan departed the show amid much controversy.

There was also much speculation about who would replace him.

His tremendous success is only matched by his impeccable reputation.

Plainly said, everyone loves him, and so will our daily viewers.” The move gives Seacrest, the multi-hyphenate host and entrepreneur, another big media platform.

'I did get close and I didn't do it and it was the right move,' the On Air With Ryan Seacrest host explained.

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