ABC reportedly gave Kelly Ripa a promotion to further mend its relationship with the host a few months after Michael Strahan’s sudden exit from “Live With Kelly and Michael.”
According to Page Six, the network made Ripa an executive producer on the syndicated morning talk show, now called “Live with Kelly,” to make up for the drama caused by Strahan’s abrupt departure.
In the April 20 episode of “Live With Kelly and Michael,” it was announced that Strahan would leave the show to join “Good Morning America” for a full-time position. Ripa was absent during the episode, and ABC announced later in the day that “Live” would have guest co-hosts until April 25.
“Kelly sees this as the ultimate betrayal,” one insider told Page Six at the time of how Ripa had taken the news. “There’s been a total Ripa meltdown,” said another.
Although it was widely reported that Ripa was blindsided by the news, an ABC staff member claimed to Variety that Ripa’s absence was a “pre-scheduled vacation.”
Pre-scheduled or not, Ripa returned on April 26 and used the opening of the episode to address Strahan’s exit. “I don’t consider this just the workplace. This is my second home,” she told the audience, expressing discontent that the upper management didn’t even bother to tell her about their plans for the show.
Despite all the drama, Ripa said that what happened sparked “a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect” among all the involved parties on the show.
The 45-year-old host later revealed on-air that the network had apologized for the mix-up, and sources told Page Six that Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger personally intervened to resolve issues with Ripa after she was named as the newest executive producer of the show.
Although Strahan’s seat has already been filled by a number of stars, including Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper and Jerry O’Connell, the search for a regular co-host to join Ripa is reportedly not yet over.