This week marks the second one in a row in which talk show host Kelly Ripa didn't show up for her usual morning spot opposite Ryan Seacrest in the syndicated series Live with Kelly and Ryan, and fans are understandably more than a little confused by her extended and largely avoided absence. Familiar faces have filled in, and good times continue to be had by all, but that doesn't explain why Ripa has been gone in the first place. Thankfully, the explanation falls on the more innocent side of things.
Without any noticeable forewarning, Kelly Ripa was replaced by occasional guest host Maria Menounos, who served as Ryan Seacrest's co-host on both Monday, March 22, and Tuesday, March 23. Not a lot of insight was given into the matter, and it was slightly more confusing when Ripa followed that up with an Instagram Stories post to celebrate National Puppy Day on March 23, but without mentioning being away from Live. After that, she gave her husband Mark Consuelos some birthday love on Instagram, which is a big clue for what's likely keeping her busy.
As it happens, Kelly Ripa is no stranger to taking off the final two weeks in March as vacation, having done just that for the past 20 years or so for the purpose of spending time with family. And for the past ten, those vacations have coincided with the birthday of her self-reportedly well-endowed hubby and occasional Live co-host. The Blast reports that Ripa will indeed return to co-hosting Live with Kelly and Ryan once her vacation is complete, and fans can get back to their mystery-free viewing routines.
Maria Menounos sat in for Kelly Ripa for the first two days of the week, with guests that included Joe Manganiello, Bear Grylls (and his mustache), and Jessica Simpson. Wednesday and Thursdays episodes featured comedian Ali Wentworth and guests Lauren Graham and Holly Robinson Peete. Finally, Harry Connick Jr. filled in as guest host on Friday's episode, with Grey's Anatomy star Chandra Wilson as the guest.
As for the second week of Kelly Ripa's annual vacation, viewers apparently won't be watching another lineup of celebrity guest hosts. Instead, local affiliates will be airing daily repeats of episodes that aired in February. The producers obviously couldn't get Mark Consuelos to take her place, seeing as how he's a big part of why she's out in the first place, so that wouldn't have been a successful way to handle. Still, it's always fun to see who they bring in during times of need, making repeats the worst kind of necessity a TV show can have.
Meanwhile, here's hoping Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos have a lovely time celebrating his [redacted number] birthday!