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It’s a new day on Live!
April 17 marks the next chapter of the hit morning show Live With Kelly and
Ryan Mark. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos will be bringing their marriage to American homes everywhere for the foreseeable future as the new co-hosts of the No. 1 morning talk show in the country.
And for the first time, the show’s original concept is being realized in a more literal way. “The real concept of the show, in a symbolic sense, is that they are husband and wife,” executive producer Michael Gelman said when the news broke that Consuelos would be replacing Ryan Seacrest as Ripa’s new co-host. “They have their coffee mugs, and they’re chit-chatting about what’s going on.”
For his part, Consuelos believes he and his wife will bring a sense of relatability to the morning show. He explains that they’re parents and business owners, have siblings and are a married couple, all of which can give people a sense of comfort.
“I think that’s kind of the magic of what we bring,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We’ll be talking about something to happen with the in-laws or with our kids or our friends, or when we were working together on a soap that will take us down [a road], or whatever happened last night as it relates to the conversation. So, right when I think, ‘Wait, what are we gonna talk about?’ We have this shared history together, and I think it’s very relatable.”
While Consuelos wouldn’t share what’s in store for his first episode as Ripa’s new, permanent co-host, the actor teased there’s going to be “something really sweet” that happens and has a “full circle” effect — whether that’s for the couple or for the show, he wouldn’t say.
In the conversation below, Consuelos gets candid about why he and Ripa originally had doubts about him coming on as co-host, how they will present a united front in every aspect of the show and, yes, their openness when it comes to their sex life.
Kelly has called this “the nation’s weirdest social experiment,” but the producers pointed out in the announcement that a couple talking is the idea behind the show, and now you’re bringing this to life. How do you feel about stepping into this format where you’re working with Kelly on the morning show and also her real husband?
I feel really good about being her husband. (Laughs.) And I feel really good about doing the show. I’ve done it so many times over the years and especially the past few years. When the opportunity came up, we talked about it, and obviously, the concern is like, “Wait, we’re working together?” But then we realized we started in the business working together — at least I did. My first job was All My Children. We worked seven years together. Our storylines were together. Those were much longer days. We had young kids early on during that time. So, I don’t know. I think we’re really excited about it. I love doing the show. It’s different. It’s not something I typically [do]. I’m an actor, so it was using a different muscle. And I’m working with what I regard the best in the business, so I’m really excited about it.
In a recent interview, Kelly mentioned she wasn’t initially sure if you becoming the next permanent host was a great idea. Did you have any similar doubts when you were first approached about the gig? Did she ever consider walking away?
Of course. It’s the No. 1 show. I didn’t want to screw anything up. It’s like coming onto a championship football team, and the only place to go is down. I was like, “Wait a minute, I want to make sure I don’t mess anything up,” and she reminded me every time we’ve done it, the response has been amazing. We have a blast. The schedule is really, really good. Everybody thinks that you start at 4 o’clock in the morning. We sometimes don’t leave the house until 8 o’clock in the morning. We have a short commute — about 10 minutes to the studio — and the show is done at 10. You’re on at 9, and you’re done at 10, and some days when we’re doing multiple things or whatever, you’re done at 11:30.
Coming from a one-hour, single-camera show, where you get picked up at 7 o’clock in the morning, and you get dropped off at 9 o’clock at night, it’s a great schedule. We definitely made a pros and cons list, and the pros list was just so much bigger than the cons list. The cons weren’t really cons. We’ve done this together. We’ve worked on shows together. So, if there were any objections early on, soon we overcame them. We realized it’s not a big deal.
So there weren’t any conversations about Kelly wanting to walk away?
No. I mean, from our marriage? (Laughs.)
No, no. The show! (Laughs.)
I know what you meant. (Laughs.) No, it was just the contracts. The contracts stuff. We figured it’d be a good way to … I don’t see us doing this forever, but I hate to talk about the end before we’ve even started.
Speaking of the contracts, what conversations did you have with ABC and the show about how bringing you in can shift Live?
The conversations weren’t too revolutionary. I think just kind of the same thought pattern that we had, I’ve done it so many times over the past few years, it’s been really good. And they thought it would really be great. I don’t think it’s been done. I think there’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, do Morning Joe. That’s a different show, though. That’s very much news. That’s a very much news show. So it’d be unique and as much of that is a married couple on TV with a unique perspective. They reminded me that I have a very different point of view than Kelly’s, which would be super interesting.
Half of the show is you have these people that you share a cup of coffee with in the morning. They’ve done something different the night before, and they talk about it. And we do do stuff differently. I will go off and watch a play; Kelly doesn’t really like watching plays. She likes musicals. Or movies I want to go see, she doesn’t want to go see. So, we’ll definitely bring different things than just, “Oh, what did you do last night?” “Well, you know what we did. We sat in bed and watched TV till about 8 o’clock at night.” So, I think they were excited about the prospects of doing this together.
It’s funny. We were talking to friends from London, and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, there’s this chat show that’s been going on for decades in England, Richard & Judy.” They’re a married couple, and they’ve been doing it in the morning for years, and they love it. I go, “Is it good?” And they’re like, “It’s fantastic. It’s really fantastic.” And I go, “All right, what don’t you like about it?” And they’re like, “No, no, we love it. In fact, their marriage is pretty great.”
Have you and Kelly come up with any rules or guidelines for how much you’ll talk about the show and prep for work at home?
There’s definitely a bucket of stuff that we can talk about. And like any marriage, there’s a bucket of stuff that you don’t want to talk about. I don’t think there’s a lot in there that would be even interesting in the non-talk-about bucket, but no, I trust her. I really, really trust her. I think she trusts me. Again, I’ve had the benefit of doing this before. I know where the line is, and I don’t plan on crossing it, and she doesn’t plan on crossing it either. So, I think it’s all in good fun. We have not had an official conversation about what’s off-limits and what’s free game.
So, this seemed to have been a very smooth transition compared to before Ryan joined the show. Having been with Kelly throughout her time on the show and changing co-hosts and you being the new co-host, how does it feel this time compared to what it was like for her in the past?
I think you’re right. It was really handled the right way. Both Ryan and her talked. First of all, they’re very close, and they have been for decades. These discussions were going on about what he was wanting to do for such a long time. Everybody was part of the conversation, and I think that’s really, really healthy. It was extremely smooth, and I was very happy about that.
Kelly has also previously spoken about how she’s had somewhat rocky experiences at the network before and how they taught her to speak up for herself on the show behind the scenes. How are you seeing that firsthand now that you are working alongside her?
Let me tell you something. I met my wife almost 28 years ago, 29 years ago, and she was the same person then. She comes from South Jersey. Dad was a bus driver, became the president of the transportation union down there. They’re fighters. She’s always fought for what’s right, and it’s not anything new to me. She came to the party a fighter. I’m always extremely proud of her, and she has the most … She has a lot of integrity. And she’s elegant in the way she describes how she feels, with always a lot of respect. And she definitely stands up for what’s right. And I’m always proud of her.
How will you approach that now as a united front?
Oh, my gosh, we’re gonna take over the world. No. (Laughs.) I think communication is always key, and I don’t foresee any challenges that I can think of right now. But no, we have a lot of communication between us, and we balance each other out really, really well. When one person is thinking about doing something, I think one of us always uses the other as a sounding board. So, I think that will be the one difference, that it’s going to be happening in real time for both of us. So, she comes with decades of experience on this show. So, I will always ask her about that stuff. And as her husband, she always seeks my counsel. So I think it’ll work out really smoothly.
How do you think your personal dynamic with Kelly could play out on the show?
It is like hyperspeed when you’re doing a live TV show, so you go for what you think is interesting. There’s a lot of nuance between us from shared experiences. Usually, I’ve done a lot of things that are like, I wouldn’t say the butt of the joke, but I’m definitely very, very comfortable in being the straight man in the comedy sketch. I don’t know. I think we’ve had so many unique experiences together, and they’re not fancy. They’re not like, “Oh, my gosh, you guys live this great life,” which I’m very blessed to live the life we do, but we always see each other as two kids from very small towns. She came from a small town in South Jersey. I lived in a small farm town in southern Illinois for 10 years. That’s where we kind of come from. Our parents are still together. We raised three children that we think are pretty good for the most part. (Laughs.)
So, I think, as parents, as a married couple, as business people, we have siblings, so I think we have a relatable relationship that many people at home can say, “Oh, they’re just like us.” Or, “You do that. That really annoys me.” “See, he does the same thing.” I think that’s kind of the magic of what we bring. And I’m excited. I always have fun during that first 20 minutes. We have some items that we gotta talk about that are newsworthy, or they’re in the news. And almost nine out of 10 times, we’ll start there, and we’ll take like five left turns, and we’ll be talking about something to happen with the in-laws or with our kids or our friends, or when we were working together on a soap that will take us down [a road], or whatever happened last night as it relates to the conversation. So, right when I think, “Wait, what are we gonna talk about?” We have this shared history together, and I think it’s very relatable.
You’ve guest-hosted in the past. What sort of advice have you gotten from Ryan, Kelly or any other talk-show hosts about hosting one of these shows regularly?
I think that what’s worked for me when I did just fill in was that I never really thought about the next day because there wasn’t a next day. It was just that day. And that’s that host chat, that first 20 minutes, that interview with that celebrity that’s coming on to promote their movie or that cooking segment or whatever it is, and that’s how I approached it. So, I think that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to approach it one show at a time, have a lot of fun and not think too much about the next day because that part will come the night before. I’ll have the luxury of having the notes just about a few hours before that I usually have, so I think I’m just going to take it — I know, it seems so cliché — but one day at a time. It’s really worked in the past. I think that’s what my push is gonna be.
Taking over a long-running show like this is a big responsibility. What elements do you hope will stick around when you take over for Ryan?
Gosh, Michael Gelman and the rest of the staff have done such a good job of keeping the show to what it is. It’s a conversation about two people, typically about what they did the night before or something I find really interesting and the foibles of life. That’s the magic of the show. I don’t see that changing at all. I see the interviews changing. I just think that what may be different in the show is that we have a shared experience and a shared history. She knows what I’ll be thinking about. I’ll know what she’ll be thinking about a little bit. I think that’s the only change that will be, but it’s not like a purposeful change. I think it’s just an inherent change of doing the show together.
Are there new things you want to bring to the show that lean into your own set of skills and background?
We definitely had a couple ideas. We’ll save them for when we talk to Michael Gelman, just some fun stuff. Maybe some other married couples that have worked together, maybe they could give us some advice or I don’t know. But again, I think the foundation of the show, it’s not revolutionary. It’s evolved. It definitely has evolved over time, but I think it’ll follow the foundation on the show the way it’s supposed to be.
One of the big things on the show is its Halloween extravaganza. Is there anything you’re looking forward to with the special episode?
I’ve done a few of those as well, just little skits with them. I know they put so much time and effort into it. It’s one of my favorite shows of the year. I’m an actor, so hopefully I can land these impressions or these bits. I was blown away by how good Ryan was. He’s not an actor, and I just thought he did such a good job. And Kelly always kills it. Her Tammy Faye was eerie. It was so, so good. The staff worked so hard on this. I’m sure they’ve started planning already. I’m not a big Halloween person per se. I don’t like getting dressed up in costumes on the day. So, I think this will give me enough goodwill where maybe on Halloween I don’t have to actually do anything.
You and Kelly have become very well-known for your openness in talking about former hurdles in your relationship, like jealousy, and your sex life. How are you planning on bringing this openness to the show?
That was a podcast. It’s the mystery of a podcast. Kelly’s podcast is excellent. I think this forum for her is just so, so good. She gets to really dive in. No one does a conversation better than Kelly. I’ll come home from working with someone, and she’ll say, “Did you ask them about this?” And I’m like, “No, why would I ask them about that?” And she’ll say, “I need to be there.” And I’m amazed at what people talk about on podcasts. There’s a certain comfortability. They let down their guard. It’s not on camera. It’s just a conversation. And she’s so, so good at it. But I think podcast conversations are different from a morning chat show for the most part. I think that’ll be the big differentiator.
Kelly also recently joked on Watch What Happens Live that you two would be taking a vow of chastity when you take over Live! because ABC doesn’t like TV partners “banging on the side.” When you see those headlines, is that a conversation between you two after? How does that go?
There’s not much of a conversation. The format of Andy’s show, that’s what his show is like. He’s also a great interviewer. He gets people to talk about stuff that’s absolutely amazing. Yeah, no, not much of a conversation. The news cycle is a pretty fast one, as you know.
Is there anything that’s off-limits for you two to talk about in public?
(Laughs.) We’ve probably gone as far as we’re gonna go. Listen, we don’t take ourselves seriously. I think that’s a great question, but like I said, I’m not sure there’s much left to say.
You’ll be one of the biggest Hispanic talk-show hosts when you start on the show. How does that feel? How do you hope to pave the way for future Hispanics interested in hosting daytime TV?
That’s really sweet. I thought about that a little bit. I hope it does pave the way. I think we absolutely need so much more representation. We talk about it a lot as a community. It’s happening in bits and bobs, and it’s slow-moving, but maybe this will be one small step toward more inclusion.
You’re doing similar things in TV shows like Riverdale, Only Murders in the Building and How I Met Your Father, playing the Hispanic father figure. What has that been like?
It’s funny. When I first joined Riverdale, I came home, and I’m like, “Babe, I’m like the dad. I used to be the boyfriend of the girl, who the dad didn’t like, or whatever.” And she’s like, “Well, you’re a dad. You’ve moved into that realm. You’re so right playing Cami Mendes’ dad and Selena Gomez’s dad.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m the dad. My ego’s OK with it.” There’s nothing I can do about it. Unfortunately, that’s what life’s about, you just move on to the next chapter, but thank you for reminding me. (Laughs.)
You have some pretty great women you’re playing the dad for. So, that’s not too bad, right?
The best! And the best role of dad is to my daughter, Lola Consuelos. That’s the one I’m more proud of.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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