The walkout has walked back in as Kelly Ripa has returned to LIVE with Kelly and Michael after four episodes away from the popular daytime show. Following a brief spat with her bosses at ABC and parent company Disney regarding the future of her co-host Michael Strahan, Ripa came back to the airwaves and addressed the reasons for her absence and her mindset.
Last Tuesday, it was revealed that Michael Strahan would be leaving LIVE with Kelly and Michael to take a bigger role on Good Morning America, which is viewed by ABC and Disney as a more important show; meaning this, for all intents and purposes, is a promotion for the former NFL player. However, Ripa, in addition to being indirectly told her show wasn’t the priority, wasn’t informed of Strahan’s departure until an hour before the announcement was made public, which is something she took quite seriously.
Claiming to be absent on Friday and Monday due to a pre-planned break, Ripa returned to the show on Tuesday to a standing ovation. She then gave a powerful opening monologue about the controversy without directly referencing it, saying that she “needed a couple of days to gather [her] thoughts” and that she “gained some perspective.”
Ripa believes that her departure “started a much greater conversation of communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in the workplace” before establishing that she received an apology and that Disney swears that LIVE with Kelly and Michael—or whatever it gets called after the latter’s departure—is a priority.
As for Michale Straham’s replacement, People magazine claimed to have a source who said Kelly Ripa had two people in mind: Anderson Cooper, whom she originally wanted to replace Regis Philbin, and Andy Cohen, a talk show and radio host and close friend of both Cooper and Ripa.
Speaking of Cohen, he commented on the controversy surrounding his friend on his radio show on Monday, saying that Ripa and Straham “had such great chemistry” and that “it just seems like a premature end to a great relationship that ended way too prematurely.” He also expressed shock at Straham’s departure as he thought it was “a job you take and you take it for life.”