"Early overnight ratings for Monday and Tuesday shows that, with Kelly hosting solo, they actually went up with Ryan out sick," a source exclusively tells OK!. "The assumption amongst a lot of the TV elite was that Ryan was the ratings machine behind Live With Kelly and Ryan. Since Ryan replaced Michael Strahan sitting next to Kelly each morning, that show has climbed to the top of the ratings, even beating Dr. Phil to the number one spot. However, with Ryan out sick and Kelly holding the fort down by herself, they didn’t lose any viewers.
"Kelly is the most underrated star in television. She is the heart and soul of Live With Kelly and Ryan and isn’t treated with the respect she deserves. Finally, the bosses are waking up and starting to worry what would happen to the show if Kelly decided to leave," TV insiders add. "She has made it clear that she wants to transition from in front of the camera to behind, producing and writing. Good luck finding another Kelly."
On Monday, October 19, the 45-year-old was MIA from the show, and Ripa, 50, didn't address where he was. "This have never happened before in the history of the show," a source exclusively told OK! at the time. "One of the hosts is missing, and the other offers no explanation! Whenever Kelly or Ryan or the both of them are not able to do the show a replacement host is booked well in advance. The show even has a list of ’emergency’ contacts, people that live in New York and can jump in with no notice if either Kelly or Ryan become sick at the last minute and cannot do the show. But neither happened this morning. Even the staff are in the dark as to where Ryan is. For Kelly to say nothing to the audience is very strange. Normally her husband Mark Consuelos would jump in and cohost, but Mark is away filming at the moment. Something is up."
But the next day on Tuesday, October 20, the blonde beauty gave viewers insight into what was going on with Seacrest. “We’re all being very cautious these days … awaiting Ryan’s COVID results,” she said.
Seacrest later tested negative for the novel coronavirus, a source told PEOPLE. The podcast host "had a minimal cough, and out of precaution wanted to make sure he had a negative test before going back to Live, which he did. He will be back in the chair tomorrow."
On Wednesday, October 21, Seacrest looked better than ever as he sported a new beard and a suit while sitting alongside Ripa.