Michael Strahan Shares How His Live With Kelly Exit Could Have Been Handled Better

live with kelly and michael

In April 2016 Live with Kelly and Michael's Michael Strahan, who had been hosting the show for about four years at that point, surprised the audience with the announcement that he would be leaving that particular morning show gig behind for a full time position on Good Morning America. There had already been rumors of a rift between him and co-host Kelly Ripa, and his (seemingly sudden) departure turned that talk up to 11, because Ripa wasn't told about the fact that Strahan would be leaving before it was announced on the show.

Basically, the whole business ended up being kind of messy for a while, with Kelly Ripa being so annoyed with not being told that she took a sudden break from the show, and Michael Strahan eventually leaving four months earlier than originally planned. Whatever was going on behind the scenes at Live with Kelly and Michael, though, Strahan does agree that the way the situation was handled wasn't kosher. He was asked recently if his departure was "sloppily handled," and here's how he responded:

It could have been handled better. I didn’t wake up and say, ‘I want a job at GMA.’ I was asked to do it by the people who run the network. It was really not a choice. It was a request. But it was treated as if I was the guy who walked in and said, ‘I’m leaving.’ That part was totally misconstrued, mishandled in every way. People who should have handled it better have all apologized, but a lot of the damage had already been done. For me, it was like: Move on. Success is the best thing. Just keep on moving.

According to what Michael Strahan told The New York Times Magazine, leaving Live with Kelly and Michael behind wasn't even his idea, but a request from the people who were running ABC at the time. Strahan had been working on Good Morning America on a part time basis for two years at that point, and there was some thought that major shakeups were going on that might have led to the whole Live with Kelly and... format being tossed out. Luckily for fans, that didn't happen. Ripa is happily hosting daily with Ryan Seacrest now, while Strahan is plying his trade on Strahan, Sara and Keke.

For all of his knowledge that his transition to GMA was bungled, Michael Strahan doesn't pretend that all of his time spent working with Kelly Ripa was the best, but he does have good things to say about how Ripa, and others, helped guide him in the morning show game. When he was asked about authenticity on morning television, with regards to the fact that the tension between himself and Ripa never showed up on screen, here's what he said:

Well, I remained the same person I was from Day 1. One thing I will not do is alter my attitude for somebody else’s. I learned so much from Kelly, so much from Michael Gelman. When it was time to go, it was time to go. Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up.

Michael Strahan went on to say that they taught him how to craft a story out of whatever he had done the night before, even if it was just as simple as getting a glass of water, so that he could help entertain the audience. Even though it sounds like they haven't spoken in a long time, Strahan also noted that Ripa is "brilliant in that way" and says he has total respect for how good she is at her job.

Now that this particular morning show war is long over, we can all enjoy our daytime TV with Live with Kelly and Ryan and Strahan, Sara and Keke. For more on what you can peep on the small screen right now, head over to our 2020 winter / spring premiere guide and Netflix schedule!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.