The morning talk show circuit is usually known for celebrity interviews and fun banter, but there’s been a different kind of buzz over at ABC recently. The network made an unexpected announcement that Michael Strahan would be leaving Live! with Kelly and Michael for a full-time gig on Good Morning America, which evidently took co-host Kelly Ripa by surprise. Strahan was set to begin his work on GMA in September, but ABC has now announced that he’ll be ending his run on Live! much earlier. Michael Strahan’s final show as co-host of Live! with Kelly and Michael will be on May 13.
Who needs daytime soaps when there’s daytime talk show drama? Leaving Live! early will not mean Michael Strahan will immediately jump over to Good Morning America. He’ll take the summer off and then join GMA as a full-timer at a point closer to the original departure date in September, according to People. The May 13 date will allow Live! to put together a sendoff for Strahan as well as kickstart the search for a new co-host for Kelly Ripa.
Of course, without Kelly Ripa’s behavior following the news of Strahan’s exit, the morning show circuit would have had less of an air of scandal lately. Reportedly, she was not given much forewarning that she would be losing her co-host to another morning show, and her reaction has elevated the change in host to the soap operatic ordeal.
In Kelly Ripa’s defense, not getting much of a heads-up regarding Michael Strahan's departure is definitely a valid reason to be upset, and rumor had it that ABC might be expanding GMA into a third hour with Strahan on board--which could have meant moving or even cancelling Live! altogether. She reacted by choosing not to show up to work on the day that Strahan announced that he would be exiting, then extended her leave by an extra couple of days. Given that other reports indicated that Strahan may have chosen to move to GMA because of his treatment by the executive producer rather than his dynamic with Ripa, it’s a shame that the news wasn’t handled more delicately.
A source has intimated that the two hosts are unlikely to collaborate on future projects, so fans of the duo will want to make the most of the last couple of weeks that Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan appear together. Ripa has returned to Live! and apparently cooled off enough to make some gracious comments about why she needed time away from the show. She’s even said that she’s thrilled for Strahan for his new gig at GMA.
There’s no saying if Michael Strahan leaving the show months earlier than expected will reduce the amount of melodrama surrounding his departure, but it should be interesting to see how Strahan and Kelly Ripa handle their final stint together on Live! with Kelly and Michael. You can catch them co-hosting for a little while longer on weekdays over on ABC. To see when your favorite shows will be hitting the airwaves, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.