Over the weekend, we learned that Kelly Ripa will officially be returning to Live! with Michael and Kelly this week. The news shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise, as Ripa had always only been scheduled to be off until Tuesday. But reports about behind-the-scenes problems with the way Michael Strahan’s departure announcement had been handled always made things seem a little uncertain. Luckily, Kelly Ripa sent an email to her staff elaborating on her absence. Here’s what the longtime TV host had to say:
I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information. Your kindness, support, and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning.
The comments, per Deadline, seem to indicate that Kelly Ripa is willing to soldier on with Michael Strahan on Live with Kelly and Michael until his new full-time Good Morning America gig starts this coming fall. After that happens, there’s a lot of uncertainty related to ABC’s daytime programming. Some reports have indicated that ABC might be looking to cut Live! out of the equation entirely. If that were to happen, the network would be likely to add a third hour of Good Morning America to the schedule. This would be fine enough news for Michael Strahan, who is departing Live! to head to GMA full time. However, if it does happen, that would be bad news for Kelly Ripa.
Since ABC hasn’t made an official decision yet regarding the future of its daytime TV schedule, we don’t know how things will shake out. Because we don't have enough information, it's hard to tell if the rumors will pan out or if ABC will simply look for another partner to work with Ripa down the line. After all, ratings had been up on Live with Kelly and Michael since Michael Strahan signed on, so its not as if the show is invaluable. Even if ABC were to extend Good Morning America, there's a chance Live! could simply move elsewhere on the schedule.
Kelly Ripa had a rough week last week after learning her show would be changing. She was reportedly told about Strahan's impending exit just a short time before the news broke via media outlets and was all over the internet. She obviously reacted strongly and was a no-show on her series starting last Wednesday. ABC filled in the gaps through the rest of the week with Ana Gasteyer and then Erin Andrews taking over Ripa's chair.
As noted prior, Michael Strahan will be staying on Live! through this coming September, which means Kelly Ripa will need to work with him as well as the rest of her staff for some months to come. She might as well kill everyone involved with the show with kindness right now--especially if she wants to keep her series. We'll let you know how this whole thing works out.