'Livid’ Kelly Ripa skips taping over surprise Michael Strahan departure
Drama alert: Kelly Ripa is, shall we say, rather upset that Michael Strahan pulled a Regis and didn’t tell her he was bailing until the announcement went public.
Fans of Live! With Kelly and Michael may have noticed that Ripa was a no-show on Wednesday. A TMZ source said this may be the first in a string of absences, because she’s furious that everyone at Live, including longtime executive producer Michael Gelman, were kept in the dark about Strahan’s upcoming move to the struggling Good Morning America.
Ripa and Gelman were both “stunned and upset” upon hearing the news at 10:30 a.m., just as the press was being notified.
“She was livid,” a source told E! News of her reaction at the meeting. “It wasn’t pretty.”
“[Strahan] wanted to be there,” the source said. “He didn’t have to be, but he didn’t want to have her hear it and not be there. He tried to do the stand up thing.”
The Daily Mail cited anonymous sources close to Ripa who said she won’t appear on the show until Strahan leaves in September.
“She is just devastated and furious,” a source told People. “And she needs time. She’s not planning on going in for the rest of the week.”
TMZ claims Ripa and Strahan don’t get along, and the fact that the former NFL star shows up with an entourage doesn’t sit well with his co-host, who pushed for him to get the gig.
Disney CEO Bob Iger decided to keep the news under wraps to prevent leaks, but Ripa feels disrespected, especially considering she helped Strahan become a TV star.
Sources said Strahan didn’t have a say in when he could tell Ripa.
“He’s not the boss,” said the E! insider. “He is an employee of the network.”
Another rumor: GMA may add a third hour and move to the 9 a.m. slot currently held by Live. All the speculation seems like a slap in the face to Ripa, who is said to believe that Disney doesn’t care about Live, which has been pretty successful since she took over for Kathy Lee Gifford despite being a relatively unknown soap actress.
As for a replacement, since Live was blindsided, they have no plan, but Strahan was told that Iger and Disney decided auditions will start in the fall.
At the end of Wednesday’s show, Strahan took a moment to praise his co-star.
“I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa, because Kelly welcomed me here and I’ve learned so much from her, and she’s just been an amazing influence on me,” he said. “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 of Kelly. Kelly, I thank you. I love you and everyone else here at Live.”
Side note: Ripa’s name was all over the headlines on Wednesday, the same day Macy’s decided to announce the launch of her new home collection.
We see you, Macy’s PR people.