Tick-tock. Emotions were everywhere on Tuesday, April 19, when Kelly Ripa found out about Michael Strahan's departure from Live with Kelly and Michael. An insider who has spoken to Ripa opened up to the New York Times about what exactly happened in that meeting in a new story published Thursday, April 21.
As the hullabaloo continues, the insider told the Times that Ripa was "told of the move just minutes before the announcement," and "felt blindsided." Us Weekly breaks down the newspaper's timeline of what exactly went down on Tuesday along with inside scoop from our own sources.
Live with Kelly and Michael Wraps
The paper said Ripa was called into a meeting after the show ended on Tuesday. She was joined by Live's executive producer, Michael Gelman, and Dave Davis, the general manager of WABC, which produces Live. "She did not know the purpose of the meeting," the insider told the Times.
Strahan Tells Ripa
Ripa, who was evidently in the dark about Strahan's departure, waited for 20 minutes in the meeting. Finally, the former NFL player entered the room. He then "broke the news that he was leaving."
A source tells Us Weekly that Strahan "wanted to be in the room" with Ripa when she learned about his departure. "Of course he respects and cares about Kelly," the insider says.
Ripa Gets Upset … But Not at Strahan
According to the Times insider, Ripa got upset with Davis at the meeting. "Didn’t I tell you this was going to happen?" she was quoted as saying to the WABC exec. "I told you two years ago this was going to happen." (Strahan started appearing on GMA twice a week in 2014.)
The Times also reported that Ripa made "little attempt to conceal her displeasure." A source adds to Us Weekly that Ripa was "definitely blindsided by the Michael news" and saw it as a "huge sign of disrespect" that nobody had told her.
Another source tells Us that Ripa's reaction was "totally unexpected." A third source adds that Ripa "stormed out" after "a lot of drama happened."
Strahan Unwinds With Wine
Strahan ended a hectic Tuesday at NYC Greek restaurant Estiatorio Milos, where he enjoyed dinner with his girlfriend Kayla Quick. An observer tells Us Weekly that the couple dined alone and toasted glasses.
Ripa Skips Work
Though the morning show host had already planned an anniversary vacation with her husband, Mark Consuelos, starting Friday, Ripa opted out of work the next morning, Wednesday, April 20, taking an unplanned day off. Her cohost seat was filled by actress Ana Gasteyer, while Strahan had to address his departure from the show without his colleague by his side.
Behind-the-scenes drama or not, Strahan had glowing things to say about Ripa. "Kelly welcomed me here, and I've learned so much from her, and she's just been an amazing influence on me," he told viewers on Wednesday. "And this has truly changed my life to be here with her. And I know that the show will continue to be strong and great, because with Kelly and Michael Gelman and the staff — everybody here is so talented, and this show has not been around for over 30 years by mistake. Kelly, I thank you. I love you. And everyone else here at Live."
A smiling Ripa emerged from her home in NYC with her husband and their kids on Thursday morning, two days after she first learned the news. In her hand, Ripa clutched a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's 2013 bestseller David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
She is departing today for her 20th anniversary vacation with Consuelos, and will not return to Live until early next week. "This was Kelly and Mark’s 20th anniversary trip," a source told Us exclusively. "And it was planned for months."
Live Speaks Out
An ABC spokeswoman told the Times in a statement: "Live continues to be a vibrant and enduring franchise under our lead host, the extraordinarily talented Kelly Ripa. Live has successfully transitioned co-hosts twice before and will do so again. Together with Kelly, ABC and the Live team will begin a new search to find a replacement for Michael."
Days after news broke that Strahan was leaving Live, a source confirmed to Us Weekly that he and Ripa still didn't have a one-on-one talk to discuss the debacle. "Michael still hasn’t even heard a peep from her," the insider told Us, while explaining why the former NFL player didn't consult Ripa about his career transition.
"It wasn’t his place to tell Kelly," the source told Us. "The head of the network is supposed to tell the staff these things."
Ripa Sends Note to Staff
“(Sorry for this late Friday night email),” she wrote in an email obtained by Us Weekly. “I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information. Your kindness, support, and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning. Love, Kelly.”
Ripa's best friend opened up about the Live drama on his SiriusXM radio show on Monday, April 25, and he had some notes for Strahan. "I've been a TV executive, or a producer, for 25 years, so I'm always fascinated to see how TV things go down. I can't say this went down in the greatest way," the Bravo personality noted. "The thing that no one is talking about is to me, the job of cohosting Live is the greatest job in TV. And she's so good at it and he was so good at it, but it's a job that you take and you take it for life. She's been at that job for 15 years. I can't get over that he left Live where it was the best show … Live with Kelly and Michael — your name is in the freakin' title. You can spend your life here. You can spend 15 years here and make serious bank, by the way."
The former NFL player addressed his future departure from Live during the Help USA and 92Y’s Change Makers Event in New York on Monday, April 25, and claimed he's taking the high road despite the behind-the-scenes drama.
“To me it's a testament, not just to me, because as I said, everything is a team. It's a testament to Live, from [producer Michael] Gelman to Kelly [Ripa], for them to say, ‘You are good enough to be here’ and then I go there, and I do well enough to get a job for two days at GMA and then they say, ‘Well, you know what, we really could use you here.’ It's a team. It's ABC. It's a group. It's a family,” he said. "You take the high road. If you argue with somebody who doesn't know what they're talking about and people see you arguing they don't know who's the fool."
Ripa Reportedly Receives Apology From ABC Execs
According to CNN, top executives and Disney and ABC have personally reached out to Ripa and apologized for the Michael Strahan departure situation and how it was handled. A source told the outlet that the executives "expressed regret for the way Kelly was told the news."
The bubbly cohost returned to her chair on Tuesday, April 26. "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," Ripa told viewers in her opening monologue. "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 workplace. And since we're being honest, I don't consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place that I've devoted myself to not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all of the producers and the crew who work on this show. We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family. Apologies have been made and the best thing to come out of all of this, you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority."
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