I had no idea that people watched or cared about Live with Kelly and Michael anymore, but the media and the Internet has gone absolutely bonkers over Michael Strahan’s decision to leave the syndicated show for a full-time gig at Good Morning America. The media is so consumed by it that even Donald Trump is having a difficult time breaking into the news cycle, even after saying something downright reasonable (that people should be able to use any bathroom they wanted to use).
Meanwhile, Kelly Ripa has left, and won’t return to Live until at least Tuesday, though many are suggesting she may stay away longer (she’s gone on vacation to the Caribbean with her husband). She’s been spotted outside her home once, and she is carrying a new Malcolm Gladwell book, David and Goliath. The media, of course, is reading into that (just as Ripa had hoped!)
The rub here is that not only did Strahan ditch Kelly Ripa, but he didn’t tell her ahead of time, although that was apparently ABC’s decision not to let the cat out of the bag (Live is syndicated, but airs after GMA in most markets, so they are considered a “family.”) Ripa, according to various reports, feels betrayed, and she’s probably also concerned about the future of Live because this move may suggest that ABC is looking to expand GMA by an hour and hang Live out to dry. This, according to other sources, is exactly what Ripa feared when Strahan began doing part-time work on GMA two years ago.
As is wont to happen, more rumors are surfacing that suggest that Ripa and Strahan didn’t get along anyway, because Strahan was not particularly friendly toward Ripa and brought with him an entourage. Strahan, meanwhile, was gracious in announcing his departure on yesterday’s show, and on today’s show, he made no mention of Kelly Ripa at all. That poor guy has been left holding the bag.
People are taking sides. Even Oprah has got in on it, saying “Nobody should ever be blindsided. I don’t know who’s in charge, but somebody should’ve said, ‘This is gonna happen.’ You shouldn’t have to read it in the paper. Ever.”
I haven't followed this closely. But is Kelly Ripa not on TV because she's mad Michael Strahan is going to a more popular show? Grow up.— Justin A. Cohn (@SportsiCohn) April 21, 2016
I keep coming back to the fact that Ripa ignored a solid year of Strahan working part time at GMA. That was her notice he was leaving.— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) April 21, 2016
And then there’s this … unexpectedly.
I always got the vibe Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan was smashing. Them two a lil' too hyper in the morning around each other.— Rugged Amethyst (@GrooveSDC) April 19, 2016
Wait until a Kelly Ripa/Michael Strahan sex tape emerges.I'm so gonna be like "Told ya."…— OLD MAN MAJESTIC (@MaJestic7777777) January 17, 2014
Every time I watch their show, I feel like Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan really wanna have sex with each other.— Jessi (@lovelyjessij) March 29, 2016
Ultimately, it’s created more interest in Live than it’s had probably since Strahan took over from Regis, and a new co-host search next fall could generate even more interest in the show. Strahan, meanwhile, seems slightly on the wrong side with the public, mostly owing to the fact that he didn’t inform Ripa ahead of time. If more rumors surface that Strahan was difficult on the Live set, it could damage his brand before he even gets to GMA, which could make it more difficult to launch a third hour, which is one way Kelly Ripa could come out on top in all of this.
Another way? She abandons the show altogether and goes to NBC’s Today show, which has been showing signs of life in recent months, narrowing the ratings gap with GMA, which has held the lead since Matt Lauer got Ann Curry fired.
The late-night wars are over, because all those dudes are too goddamn nice to each other, but at least there’s some drama in the morning. No one is happier than Al Roker. Probably.