April 26, a week after Michael Strahan announced that after four years on the show, he’s leaving Live! With Kelly and Michael in September for a full-time gig as a co-anchor on Good Morning America, audience members welcomed back Kelly Ripa with a loud applause and Strahan was also happy about the return of the “queen of morning television” after a week-long (and kind of awkward) absence from the popular ABC talk show
Strahan’s announcement caused a firestorm at the show – or at least it did for Ripa. She took a sick day on Wednesday, April 20, the day after Strahan shocked and “blindsided” his co-host with the news. However, according to Us Weekly, Ripa had already planned to take Friday and Monday off for her 20th anniversary vacation with her husband, Mark Consuelos. However, she did not note why she would be absent on Wednesday.
Ripa was reportedly told about the big change that Live! would endure just a few minutes before the show began in a meeting with the show’s executive producer. Only a short while after finding out that Strahan would be leaving, Ripa felt disrespected by the show’s producers and the network that she had only known about the news minutes before it broke out into the media and was seen all over the Internet. However, the short-notice warning clearly didn’t effectively prepare Ripa for Strahan’s exit, as she reacted drastically by pulling a surprise no-show after struggling with the news.
When Ripa did return on Tuesday, when she addressed her recent absence from Live! explaining that she took some time to gain perspective. She came walked out onto the stage waving at fans and smiling. She began the show by thanking her viewers for their loyalty to the show and congratulating Strahan on his new job at Good Morning America. She said to the live audience, “To all our viewers…you still continued to give us your eyeballs and watch this show. Thank you guys…I can’t ask for better fans. The love and support throughout this time has been really overwhelming.”
Ripa, who insists that she was not at all angry with Strahan, but by the network and Live! crew, gave what seemed to be a sincere congratulations to her co-host. “I am thrilled for you,” she said to Strahan. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn’t be prouder of you, and everything we accomplished together.”
Despite the behind-the-scenes-drama, Strahan had glowing things to say about Ripa: “Kelly welcomed me here, and I’ve learned so much from her, and she’s just been an amazing influence on me,” he told viewers on Wednesday. “And this has truly changed my life to be here with her. And I know that the show will continue to be strong and great, because with Kelly and Michael Gelman (the show’s producer) and the staff — everybody here is so talented, and this show has not been around for over 30 years by mistake. Kelly, I thank you. I love you. And everyone else here at Live.”