The stakes are high for ABC’s morning lineup, particularly for “Live with Kelly and Michael” and “Good Morning America,” as Kelly Ripa is due to return Tuesday morning to “Live” after a week of controversy over the network’s handling of the departure of her co-host, Michael Strahan.
In the wake of the brouhaha that erupted after the April 19 announcement that Strahan is exiting “Live” to go full time to “GMA,” ABC has had a number of fires to try to put out — including the perception by some that Strahan is the villain in the story and the response by many fans who have chided Ripa for her “diva-like” reaction to the news.
The situation is complicated by the widely held perception that tensions have existed between Strahan and Ripa at least since 2014. Strahan joined “Live” as Ripa’s co-host in fall 2012, filling the vacancy left by Regis Philbin’s retirement. He began working part time at “GMA” in 2014, a move that reportedly never sat well with Ripa.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ripa, who will return “after boycotting her own show last week,” may be ready to extend an olive branch to Strahan. She is expected to acknowledge her absence, but what she has to say about it will matter, according to the report.
“How her return is handled could have ramifications for ABC and its two morning franchises ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘Live,’ for Ripa herself and for her co-host Michael Strahan,” THR reports. The report adds: “Sources say Ripa and Strahan have not spoken since Strahan informed her he will join ‘GMA’ in September. But they had a cordial exchange of text messages on Saturday, according to one source.”