Ripa, who has hosted and starred on the show since Regis Philbin’s departure five years ago. There was no love lost there either.
Philbin departed (read pushed out) in 2011 and said last year he hadn’t spoken to Ripa since they parted ways. Ripa replaced Kathy Lee Gifford in 2000 after she spent 15 years on the show.
Ripa is especially furious at Strahan because she feels like she made him. She specifically picked the ex-football star from a number of possible guest hosts after Philbin’s departure, according to a source close to the show.
ABC made a surprise announcement yesterday that Strahan was joining “Good Morning America” full time over the summer. The move was made because ABC suits believe GMA needs a ratings booster and Strahan has proved to be widely liked.
Ripa wasn’t told of the switch until just before the network went public with the news and did not hear from Strahan beforehand. The move effectively leaves her show up in the air.
She didn’t help much, by failing to show up for work.
Strahan appeared on the show seated next to Ana Gasteyer. He tried to make light of the uproar.
“I’ve been in the news lately,” he said calmly. When he confirmed he was leaving, the audience erupted in boos.
“It’s the same channel, so I’m not going anywhere,” Strahan quickly added. “I was reading some stuff and it sounded like I died!”
He then addressed the audience directly:
“I do want to say to all of our viewers out there, everybody who’s watched this show over the last four years… You still continued to give us your eyeballs and watch this show. And for everybody that’s come through here in the live audience over the course of the last four years, thank you guys. I couldn’t have asked for better fans at all, and you guys have been absolutely amazing.”
That helped turn the audience in his favor. They began cheering loudly.
“And on top of that, I’ve worked with an incredible staff here. I’m always here. I’m always available to guest co-host if I get a call, because I consider myself to be a part of this family forever.”
At the end of the show he thanked Kelly and executive producer Michael Gelman directly.
ABC renewed the show in January and it will run through 2020, so Kelly isn’t going anywhere. But Strahan’s departure casts a pall over her, nonetheless.
Although it appears on ABC, it’s syndicated and independently produced. A decline in the ratings could hurt the show’s revenue. But ABC was apparently willing to throw Ripa under the bus to shore up ratings of its flagship morning news program.
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