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There’s nothing quite like a scandal to draw attention in showbiz, and Live! With Kelly and Michael has had its fair share of scandal over the last week or so. Michael Strahan’s unexpected upcoming departure resulted in co-host Kelly Ripa taking an unscheduled break from the series. Ripa has now made her triumphant return to the show, and the big question was whether or not her mini hiatus would effect the ratings. As it turns out, the ratings jumped a whopping 62% upon her return.
Preliminary measurements indicate that Kelly Ripa’s return on Tuesday scored a 4.7 rating, according to The Wrap. Monday’s ratings without Ripa only achieved a 3.4, and Tuesday of last week only scored a 2.9. The friendly on-screen reunion of Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan may or may not have been sincere, but plenty of people saw it to judge for themselves.
It should be interesting to see if Live! With Kelly and Michael can sustain numbers even close to the 4.7. A decent chunk of that bigger audience no doubt tuned in to see if the plot of Michael Strahan’s departure would thicken further, but only time will tell if the episode was enough to bring those viewers back for the rest of the co-hosts' run together. We learned yesterday that Strahan will be leaving Live! four months earlier than anticipated, launching Live! on a quest to find a new co-host for Kelly Ripa.
Despite all of the buzz that arose from her absence, Kelly Ripa didn’t actually flee Live! for all that long. She was already scheduled for a couple of days off; she just took off sooner than she’d first intended. Given that she was reportedly blindsided by the news that her co-host was jumping ship for a regular gig on Good Morning America and then faced with the rumor that Live! would be cancelled in favor of even more airtime to Good Morning America, it’s hard to blame her for wanting some time to herself. Failing to show up for work and then taking off may not have been the most professional way for Ripa to handle herself, but at least she had a good reason.
Kelly Ripa has since received apologies about how Michael Strahan’s upcoming departure was handled, so she really had to return sooner rather than later if she wanted to save face. Everybody at the show is just lucky that viewers have evidently been more intrigued than turned off by the antics behind the scenes at Live!
From the looks of things, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan will not be working together again after the end of their tenure as co-hosts, so it’s entirely possible that all of the episodes leading up to Strahan’s May 13 departure will see an uptick in the ratings. You can catch them on weekday mornings for a little while longer on ABC. For a look at primetime series you’ll be able to catch in the near future, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.