Kelly Ripa finally returned to “Live with Kelly and Michael” on Tuesday, and she had some words for ABC.
The host refused to go to work last Wednesday after being blindsided by the news that her cohost Michael Strahan would be leaving the daytime show for a full-time job at “Good Morning America.”
“Our long national nightmare is over,” Ripa joked.
She also thanked the audience for their “love” and “support” through this “overwhelming” time.
In all, Ripa took four days off from the syndicated show. The first two were unplanned, but she had previously scheduled Monday off to reportedly celebrate her wedding anniversary to actor Mark Consuelos over a long weekend.
As Business Insider previously reported, Ripa sent an email on Friday evening to thank “Live’s”
staff for their support and to confirm she would return to work on Tuesday.
Not mincing words, Ripa spoke about “respect in the workplace.”
“I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to out here and just say something I might regret,” she said. “What transpired over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace.”
According to reports, ABC executives apologised to Ripa over the weekend for delivering the news of Strahan’s impending departure just before going wide with the announcement. Strahan also apologised to Ripa via a phone call during the weekend.
Guest cohosts Ana Gasteyer, Erin Andrews, and “Pretty Little Liars” star Shay Mitchell filled in for Ripa while she was away.
Ripa is expected to cohost with Strahan five days a week until his exit this summer. The show will then probably repeat the process it used to find Strahan in 2012 when he replaced the retiring Regis Philbin. In that case, Ripa will have a string of guest cohosts, who are essentially auditioning in front of millions of viewers for the permanent spot.