The secret drama behind the scenes at Live! With Kelly and Michael has burst into the forefront in the wake of Michael Strahan’s decision to leave the show. Strahan announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving Live! With Kelly and Michael to work as a full-time correspondent for Good Morning America in the fall. Ripa is reportedly furious that she found out at the last minute.
Strahan reportedly blindsided Ripa and Live producer Michael Gellman with the news. In a group meeting arranged at the last minute that also included WABC general manager Dave Davis, Strahan announced his exit from the show and his plan to become a co-host at Good Morning America. A press release was being sent to the public at the same time. Strahan’s GMA gig is scheduled to start in September.
Live! premiered in national syndication in 1988 as Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, hosted by Regis Philbin and Kathy Lee Gifford. In 2000, Gifford left the show and was replaced the next year by Kelly Ripa, formerly an actress on All My Children. Philbin left the show in 2011, paving the way for former football player Michael Strahan to be named the new co-host in 2012. He has co-hosted the show for the past four years.
Live! With Kelly and Michael has always depended on the friendly-bordering-on-flirtatious banter between Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan to steer the show. However, some sources behind the scenes say that their relationship over the past four years has all been for show and that they really cannot stand each other. The source went on to say that whenever communicated off-camera, it was always through their reps. Ripa’s actions after hearing Strahan’s news gives some merit to the reports.
According to reports, Strahan and Ripa have not spoken to each other since Tuesday. After the announcement, Ripa reportedly called in sick for the rest of the week in protest. She had been scheduled to leave on a planned vacation to Turks and Caicos in celebration of her 20th anniversary to husband Mark Consuelos, but she reportedly cancelled the trip. According to sources, she did not hide her anger upon learning the news on Tuesday.
Strahan will continue to host the show in Ripa’s absence. Filling in for Ripa on Thursday for both the live show and a second taped show to air on Friday morning was popular ABC personality Dancing With the Stars host Erin Andrews. Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer filled in on Wednesday and Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell will guest co-host Monday. Strahan and Ripa won’t come face-to-face with each other again until next week when she returns to work.