Kelly Ripa Pulls No Punches During Triumphant ‘Live’ Return — Watch
UPDATE (4/26): Michael Strahan will now leave Live this spring, People reports. Though his departure from the show was originally set for September, his last day is now scheduled for May 14 so that he can work his way into the GMA rotation more seamlessly. ABC also apologized to Strahan for the announcement of his departure, the site says.
Kelly Ripa has returned to Live six days after she first skipped a taping in light of news that co-host Michael Strahan had accepted a new job at Good Morning America. While she seems to have forgiven ABC for withholding the news until the last minute in an introductory message from today's (April 26) broadcast above, she makes it very clear that she's disappointed with the network's eschewing of transparency and respect.
"Guys, our long national nightmare is over," she jokes upon entry after nearly a minute of applause from the audience. "I'm fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift" — she mimes air quotes — "too far off-message."
Ripa goes on to thank audience members for their loyalty, noting "the show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming," and explains that she needed a few days away from the show to gather her thoughts.
"After 26 years with this company, I earned the right," she insists. "And let's be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other."
Now, Ripa says fences have been mended, apologies have been made and conversations about communication in the workplaces have been forged. And in case there's any confusion in the matter, she's pressing forward with her gig.
"The best thing to come out of all of this, is that our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority," she said. "I am thrilled for Michael — I am thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity."
Ripa, who's been a Live co-host for 16 years (Strahan joined in 2012), has been absent from the show since the April 20 broadcast, during which Strahan announced his new job with guest co-host Ana Gasteyer, and praised Ripa for her talent.
"I’ve learned so much from her and she’s just been an amazing influence on me, and this has truly changed my life to be here with her," he said. "I know that the show will continue to be strong because of Kelly."
What do you think of Ripa's message? Take a look, and sound off in the comments.
Look Back at a Collection of Celeb Disses: