Kelly Ripa took the morning off from her talk show Live with Kelly and Michael on Wednesday, a day after it was announced her co-host, Michael Strahan, was leaving the show to join ABC’s Good Morning America. She will not return for the rest of week, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Fox Sports personality Erin Andrews will co-host with Strahan on Thursday and Friday. Shay Mitchell, the Pretty Little Liars star, will slide into Ripa’s seat on Monday.
The reasons behind Ripa’s absence are plenty. The official word from a show rep, obtained by Us Weekly, said, “Kelly had today off from the show.” The Daily Mail reports Ripa refuses to come back until Strahan is gone.
In her stead on Wednesday, Ana Gasteyer joined Live as Strahan’s guest co-host. He also took the time to comment on the move at the top of the show while signing off with his thanks to Ripa.
Here’s everything to know about the situation.
1. Ripa Didn’t Show Up to ‘Live’ the Day After Strahan’s Exit Is Announced
Viewers tuning into Live with Kelly and Michael on Wednesday morning were met with an unfamiliar co-host sitting in Kelly Ripa’s chair. Ana Gasteyer was filling in for Ripa, who was noticeably absent a day after it was announced her co-host, Michael Strahan, would be moving to Good Morning America full-time in September.
There are various excuses for her absence.
A rep for the show told Us Weekly, “Kelly had today off from the show,” while another source said, “[She] took a sick day. No way she was walking back into that today.” People heard from a source that Ripa “called the network at midnight last night to say that she said she wasn’t coming in.”
The situation may become more dire in the days ahead. Ripa’s return is undetermined and the Daily Mail reports that she’s refusing to come back until Strahan exits permanently. A source told the Daily Mail:
Kelly isn’t making any demands. She is very hurt that Disney hasn’t even spoken to her yet so they are assuming that she isn’t coming back. She wants to wait and see what happens. She’d also like someone to do the right thing and speak to her face to face rather than plot and plan behind her back.
2. Ripa Learned of Strahan’s News Shortly After Tuesday’s Show Ended
Ripa learned about Strahan’s move to GMA about the same time the rest of America was first reading about it. Strahan joined the network executives as they broke the news to her and executive producer Michael Gelman at 10:30 a.m.according to TMZ.
Strahan took part in the discussion “to be respectful to his partner,” a source told People. “It wasn’t up to him to deliver any news. He’s not the boss of the network. He was trying to do the right thing and be there as a support.” But following the meeting, Ripa “went crazy… like a lunatic,” the source added.
3. Strahan Thanked Ripa for Her ‘Amazing Influence’
Strahan addressed his departure at the top of Tuesday’s broadcast on Live. Seated beside his guest co-host Ana Gasteyer, the former NFL player announced he was indeed joining Good Morning America full-time starting in September. He didn’t mention Ripa in the opening, but thanked the fans for watching the show since he joined four years ago.
He expressed his gratitude for Ripa at the end of the episode. Read below what he had to say to his co-host, Gelman and the show’s staff.
I really want to thank of course Kelly Ripa because Kelly welcomed me here and I’ve learned so much from her. She’s been an amazing influence on me and it has truly changed my life to be here with her. I know that the show will continue to be strong and great because of Kelly and Michael Gelman and the staff here. Everybody is so talented and this show has not been around for over 30 years by mistake. That is a very hard thing to do in any business. It’s because of all the people who work here, extremely hard. Kelly, I thank you and I love you and everyone else here at ‘Live.’
4. Disney CEO Bob Iger Orchestrated the Strahan Move
It’s been a few years, but NBC’s Today is once again nipping at the heels of its morning news rival, Good Morning America. To steady the ship, ABC News president Ben Sherwood made the decision to promote Strahan to full-time on GMA, a source told the Daily Mail.
This decision was all Ben Sherwood. Ben has always been ambitious and this is his way of trying to save Good Morning America while also positioning himself to be Bob Iger’s successor running all of Disney.
TMZ also reports that Disney CEO Bob Iger orchestrated the move. He has a plan to find a replacement for Strahan on Live, but it’s unclear if he’s shared that strategy with executive producer Gelman.
5. ‘Good Morning America’ Is ‘Thrilled’ to Have Strahan Full-Time
Strahan will talk about his transition on Thursday’s broadcast of Good Morning America. His co-anchors expressed their enthusiasm for the move on Wednesday morning.
“We are thrilled to say that Michael Strahan will be joining us every morning in the fall,” Roberts said while George Stephanopoulos added, “It is so great to have him here. He’s gonna keep on doing football as well.”
Strahan will join the GMA team full-time starting in September. He started working for the show in 2014, serving as a co-anchor twice a week while still co-hosting Live with Ripa. He also will keep his gig on the NFL on Fox as a football analyst and is set to host the ABC reboot of the classic game show, $100,000 Pyramid, for 10 episodes this summer.