NEW YORK -- It's time for "the nation's weirdest social experiment," according to Kelly Ripa: Her husband Mark Consuelos joined "Live" as her co-host.
The couple walked out onto the now-titled "Live with Kelly and Mark" set on Monday's show holding hands as "2 Be Loved (Am I Ready)" by Lizzo played.
After taking their seats, Ripa didn't waste any time before she started joking, saying, "Joining me today and permanently until one of us dies is Mark Consuelos."
On Friday, the ABC morning talk show bid farewell to Ripa's previous co-host Ryan Seacrest, who joined "Live" in 2017. Seacrest said he will focus on hosting the live episodes of "American Idol" season 21, which are filmed in Los Angeles, this spring and will be back to guest host with Ripa in the future.
Calling Seacrest's departure as "bittersweet," Ripa also acknowledged that the move is a "complete full-circle moment" for her and her husband. The couple previously co-starred on "All My Children" before getting married in 1996 and welcoming three children of their own, all now adults.
"To have Mark join me at that desk every day, it's a dream come true," Ripa, who joined "Live" in 2001, told People. "We've been so uniquely blessed."
"It's going to be off the rails!" she teased.
Consuelos echoed his wife, saying joining the show is "indescribable" and something for which they're both "super, super grateful."
Consuelos has had plenty of practice co-hosting with his wife after filling in for the role nearly 100 times.
"I had filled in so many times and had a blast every single time," he added. "Some people would die to have this opportunity. No one does it like she does. ... I can't think of anybody that I feel more safe with, and protected by, than Kelly."
Ripa said it's a dream come true for her after more than two decades co-hosting the show.
"We work well together and we always have, and there's no one I enjoy spending time with more than Mark, and I hope he feels the same way I do," Ripa said.
Their ease was obvious and the audience showed their approval often during Consuelos' first show as a permanent co-host.
Their daughter Lola was even there to show support along with good friends.
Both Ripa and Consuelos said they grew much closer during the pandemic when they were in lockdown with their families, and that bodes well for the future of the show.
"People love the reality of seeing a real couple having discussions and seeing them interact," said Executive Producer Michael Gelman. "It runs deep into everyone's mind set of what a couple should be, and so they love to watch so I'm excited to see what goes on."
Watch "Live with Kelly and Mark" weekdays at 9 a.m. on ABC.
ABC News contributed to this report.