Fans of the daytime talker only found out of Ripa’s absence Monday morning when producers shared a behind-the-scenes clip on Instagram introducing her temporary replacement: Menounos. On Tuesday, the former E! News alum set in again for the All My Children actress.
On Tuesday, Ripa took to her Instagram Story to honor National Puppy Day. She shared two videos of her dogs inside her Manhattan home, but did not appear in the footage herself.
Should Ripa be worried that fans were quick to shower Menounos with praise on her job as co-host? “Fresh energy much needed for the show,” one fan gushed. “I started my work day later just to watch her.” While another user wrote: “Maria fits in well!! She is funny, too!”
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Ripa has been hosting LIVE since 2001 after the departure of longtime host Kathie Lee Gifford. She sat alongside Regis Philbin until his retirement in 2011. The show spent nearly a year rotating co-host until they decided upon athlete Michael Strahan to fill Philbin’s chair in September 2012, until he left in May 2016.
ABC then tapped American Idol host Seacrest as Ripa’s sidekick and the two have been co-hosting the hit daytime chatfest since May 2017.
Comedian Ali Wentworth stepped in as co-host of LIVE on Wednesday, with still no word of how long Ripa will be out.
This isn’t the first time the ABC talker has had a mysterious co-host disappear. In October, Seacrest was absent for two days for what they later described as him being under the weather and getting tested for COVID-19, but OK! exclusively reported that Ripa might have been the reason as to why he didn't show up to work.
OK! spoke with multiple sources familiar with the situation, and they all agreed that there was no real health scare with Seacrest. "He and the judges on American Idol are getting tested daily, adhering to social distance guidelines, and they reworked the entire season so that the contestants are coming to them in California. And if Ryan were really feeling that sick he would never have agreed to tape with Katy Perry over the weekend, who has a newborn at home," an insider spilled.
The source continued, stressing that it appeared Ripa was fed up with Seacrest’s many gigs and not being able to dedicate his time to LIVE. "The man is tested daily in Los Angeles while doing Idol. Kelly also refused to entertain the notion of him cohosting from home, which they did for months and are set up to do now. It was basically a warning and her way of making it clear to network executives and Ryan that she is the draw," the source explained.