Kelly Ripa’s absence from “Live with Kelly and Michael” on Wednesday means she missed cohost Michael Strahan’s on-air announcement that he’s leaving the show. It also fuelled speculation that there may be some drama over his departure.
On Tuesday, ABC announced that Strahan would be transitioning from appearing part-time on “Good Morning America” to a full-time gig on the morning show in September. That means he will be leaving his job at “Live” this summer.
“I’ve been in the news,” he said coyly to guest cohost and “Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer on Wednesday’s “Live.” “I’m leaving the show and I’m going over to ‘Good Morning America’ full-time.
“It’s the same channel,” he said after the studio audience booed at the news. “I’m not going anywhere. I was reading some stuff and it sounded like I died. It’s not a eulogy, people.”
Strahan has been with “Live” for four years, having replaced longtime cohost Regis Philbin in 2012.
While Strahan thanked the fans for their loyalty and for tuning in, Ripa’s absence fuelled speculation that she had been blindsided by his impending departure. An unnamed source close to the show told TheWrap that Ripa was “kept in the dark” about Strahan’s decision to leave.
Another anonymous source, a daytime TV veteran, said that there had been tension between the hosts recently.
“Kelly has been very moody and emotional the past couple of years and Strahan was dreading going to work,” the source told TheWrap.
TMZ’s unnamed sources also said that Ripa wasn’t told about the “GMA” job, and that the pair don’t get along. They also told the site that Wednesday’s absence is the first of a planned string of absences from the show for Ripa.
Later in the show, Strahan thanked his MIA cohost: “I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa. Kelly welcomed me here and I learned so much from her. And she’s just been an amazing influence on me. And this has truly changed my life, to be here with her.”
When Business Insider asked for a comment on the speculation about Ripa’s absence from Wednesday’s show, a representative for “Live” simply said, “Kelly had the day off today.”
“Live” viewers on Twitter had their own speculation on Ripa’s absence:
I bet Kelly Ripa is pissed because it was a shock and also because they might just get rid of her show and extend GMA like Today.
— Souled Out, Bäéd Up (@Carnegro) April 20, 2016
Kelly Ripa’s petty is showing…
— Mr. Burton (@The_MisterE) April 20, 2016
Watch Strahan announce his departure below: