Live with Kelly and Ryan furniture set up 2019

Like many other daytime TV shows, Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa recorded new episodes from the comfort of their homes (and sometimes their vacation homes) during the pandemic. When the two got back to the studio, they did so with plenty of safety measures in place, including a social distancing safety measure that had the creative team using unique camera angles to make it seem like the two hosts were sitting closer to each other than they were on Live! with Kelly and Ryan each day.

It’s a big month for Live! with Kelly and Ryan as the two daytime hosts are celebrating a milestone toward getting back to normal on their daytime TV show. The production finally brought back the original furniture so the two could sit side-by-side once more and Ryan Seacrest shared the news on his Instagram Story, along with the exchange he had with Kelly Ripa as they sat down next to one another for the first time in months.

Ryan Seacrest shares return to set

This week, all that changed as Live! With Kelly and Ryan’s own Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa both shared looks at getting back to normal, which included two chairs set up right next to one another on the set. Things aren't totally back to the "old" normal, as Seacrest put it, given those on set who are not on air are still masked up, but the social distancing measures seem to have been relaxed.

Kelly Ripa look at the chairs on set

The two daytime hosts also chattered about the lack of social distancing moving forward, noting:

Kelly Ripa: June 1, 2021. This seems awfully close. I think this is a moment of intimacy and one of us should be wearing protection.

Ryan Seacrest: Yes, I think so too.

Producer: You’re both vaccinated…

Still, it was a little off-putting to the two hosts, who had a moment of contemplation and joking around with the audience before settling back into their old chairs. Why are the setup changes such a big deal? As noted prior, this is in stark contrast to when the show got back to the studio in September of last year. In fact, at that time, the two hosts were socially distanced and then spliced together for the small screen, an effect that would occasionally be ruined when Kelly Ripa or Ryan Seacrest moved a little too close to the center. The stage has looked very different over the past TV season.

Kelly and Ryan social distancing screenshot 2020

But this week, as the show got back to normal, the two went on to joke that it’s been so long since the set of Live! With Kelly and Ryan was normal that they hardly recognize the furniture, though Ripa told Ryan afterwards it’s definitely the furniture they had been using pre-pandemic.

Kelly Ripa: I know we’re vaccinated.

Ryan Seacrest: This is strangely close.

Ripa: Unprecedented closeness.

Seacrest: Are you sure we’ve used this before? This looks like new furniture.

To note: the chairs are certainly the same as they were pre-pandemic, as you can see in the top image on this article or in other stories about Live from before the pandemic. You’d think Ryan Seacrest would be more likely to remember the furniture given that time he actually fell out of it on live TV a couple of years ago, but I guess not.

Every day, it almost seems as if there’s a new milestone to the U.S. approaching normal in stores, restaurants and even on TV. I’d expect that to continue in the coming months as TV gears up for the 2021-2022 season. For now, you can catch some of the stuff that was shot mid-pandemic with our 2021 summer TV premiere schedule.

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