She’s back! After taking a brief hiatus from “Live! With Kelly and Michael” last week following the announcement her co-star Michael Strahan is leaving, Kelly Ripa returned to TV Tuesday.
Ripa immediately addressd the audience after walking out hand in hand with Strahan to a large applause. “Our long national nightmare is over!” she quipped, before making a sincere speech about her hiatus.
“I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support to this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right ... In that time I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn't want to come out here and say something I might regret,” she said.
Ripa said her time away had been therapeutic for her. “It started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly respect in the work place. Since we're being honest, I don't consider this just a work place. This is my second home. This is a place that I've devoted myself ... We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family.”
Ripa said “apologies have been made” and she also shared an update about the future of “Live!" “The best thing to come out of this all of this is that our parent company has assured me that 'Live!' is a priority. There is a commitment to this show and the people that work here and most importantly to you, the viewers, who have watched us every day for 30 years.”
The talk show host concluded her speech by saying she was proud of Strahan and his accomplishments. “I am thrilled for Michael, I am thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn't be, and we couldn't be prouder of you and everything we've accomplished together.”
Strahan announced he was leaving “Live!” last week in favor of a full time role on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Strahan, who will make his official exit from the syndicated talk show this fall, has said he plans to guest star on “Live!” as needed.
After failing to appear on the show following Strahan’s announcement, Ripa, who was rumored to have felt “stabbed in the back” by her co-star’s exit, sent an email to her team. “I wanted to thank you for giving me the time to process this new information,” she wrote on April 22. “Your kindness, support and love has overwhelmed me.” Ripa also called her staff her “family” and said she was looking forward to returning to work.
“Live! With Kelly and Michael” airs weekdays. Check your local listing for times.