ABC Boss Admits He Made ‘Mistakes’ With Michael Strahan’s ‘Live’ Exit

Their bad! ABC exec Ben Sherwood admitted in a recent interview that the network’s handling of Michael Strahan’s exit from Live! earlier this year was less than perfect.

“I have most definitely thought about it, and I think that enough has been said about it,” he told The Hollywood Reporter with a laugh, in regard to how Strahan’s departure played out in the headlines. “We made some mistakes, we fixed them quickly and we moved on.”

Sherwood and other Live With Kelly and Michael executives allegedly broke the news of Strahan’s departure to Kelly Ripa in a meeting in April, blindsiding the longtime talk-show host and causing her to take an abrupt sick day before her scheduled vacation with husband Mark Consuelos.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the ceremony honoring Kelly Ripa with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 12, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the ceremony honoring Ripa with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 12, 2015, in Hollywood. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

“Our long national nightmare is over,” she joked with the audience when she returned on April 26. “I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I really — I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company. I earned the right, and let’s be honest: I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other.”

Strahan, 44, terminated his contract early as a result of the drama, exiting four months ahead of schedule in May. His first official day with Good Morning America was Tuesday, September 6.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan appear at Lincoln Square on September 4, 2012 in New York City.
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan appear at Lincoln Square on September 4, 2012 in New York City. Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Sherwood, who is the president of the Disney/ABC broadcast and entertainment networks, noted that things are humming along on the Live set. “I was on the set of Live recently: The show is in great shape, Kelly is in a great place, the hunt for a new co-host is underway, the excitement is building, and I believe the future of that show is bright.”

Of what he took away from the entire debacle, Sherwood had a simple answer: “I certainly learned that more communication is better.”

Ripa, 45, is still looking for a replacement for Strahan after a summer of guest cohosts, including Anderson Cooper, Jerry O’Connell and Jimmy Kimmel.

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