Regis Philbin Defends Kelly Ripa Amid ‘Live’ Michael Strahan Drama: Would He Ever Return to the Show?

Team Kelly. Regis Philbin addressed the drama over Michael Strahan leaving Live With Kelly and Michael — and it appears that he's siding with his former colleague Kelly Ripa.

As previously reported, Strahan, 44, is leaving Live after four years to join Good Morning America full-time. According to The New York Times, Ripa "felt blindsided" when she was told about his departure last-minute.

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin in New York on April 21, 2016. 247PAPS.TV/Splash News

"[Producer Michael] Gelman, you know … I don't want to know. I know what it is," Philbin, 84, told a TMZ cameraman in NYC Thursday, April 21. "They should have told her in the beginning."

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan at the 'Live With Kelly' taping at ABC Lincoln Center on June 28, 2012, in New York City. Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Ripa, 45, has yet to return to Live since the news. A source told Us Weekly that she "took a sick day." A show rep added that she already had the day off.

Philbin told TMZ that he hasn't spoken to Ripa or Strahan since the fallout. The legendary talk show host also addressed rumblings about whether he would ever return to the show.

"I'd have to think about it," he told TMZ, adding: "She's got a bunch of people that she likes, whoever it is, God bless them. Regis has had enough. Twenty-eight years there, 25 before in Hollywood before I came here. I'm done!"

Regis cohosted with Ripa on the ABC daytime talk show for 10 years. Ripa replaced Kathie Lee Gifford in 2002, and Philbin was replaced by Strahan in 2012 when he left after 28 years behind the desk. (Last year, Philbin said that he hasn't spoken to Ripa since exiting the show.)

"He's great. He was great on the [New York] Giants, he was great on our show," Philbin said of Strahan. "He's doing a lot of stuff. He's a real pro."

Despite the love, Philbin does think that it could have been handled better with Ripa.

"Do you think she got back-doored?" TMZ asked.

"To a degree," he said. "I mean, I can't tell because I'm not there. … They're going to be all right. It’ll be fine."

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