Michael Strahan is exiting Live With Kelly and Michael several months ahead of his scheduled September 2016 departure, the show confirmed to TMZ on Tuesday, April 26. The announcement was made hours after Kelly Ripa made her big return to the morning show following a dramatic week.
“After meeting with the producers of both Live and Good Morning America, and after speaking with Kelly and Michael, we have decided on a plan that best advantages both shows for the future,” the statement to TMZ read. “To that end, Michael’s last day on Live will be on Friday, May 13, which not only gives the show the chance to have a nice send-off for him during the May book, but to also immediately begin the on-air search for a new co-host. This plan also allows GMA to start integrating Michael into the show more often this summer before his full-time start in September.”
Strahan announced he was leaving the syndicated program last Tuesday, April 19, after four years of hosting alongside Ripa. The abrupt announcement caused major tension among him, Ripa and the higher-ups at ABC. After a week-long absence, which included a sick day and a preplanned vacation, Ripa addressed the high-profile incident on Tuesday. “I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and just, like, say something I might regret,” she told viewers. “So what transpired though 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.”
It was also reported that Strahan felt it wasn’t his place to tell Ripa; rather he felt that it was up to ABC executives to convey his transition to GMA. CNN reported Monday that ABC had apologized to Ripa for their handling of the transition. Despite the situation, both costars held hands as they walked out onto the stage on Tuesday.
“I’m so happy you’re back. And one thing I know about you is you love the show. You love the fans. You love this staff. I love you,” Strahan said to his co-host. “And I’m so happy you’re here because you brought me here with [executive producer Michael] Gelman and this show has — it’s been transforming for me. And I know the show lives on.”