Michael Strahan Will Exit 'Live!' on May 13
The co-host, who was originally set to exit this summer, will step down in May.
Michael Strahan is leaving Live! With Kelly and Michael! earlier than expected.
Originally poised to exit the show over the summer, the former NFL star will now step down May 13, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
His revised departure date will give Live! producers the chance to find a replacement over the summer, said an ABC source, while potentially boosting the show's ratings during the May sweeps period. It also will give Strahan the summer off before regular early morning wake-up calls for his full-time Good Morning America gig in September.
The news comes hours after Kelly Ripa returned to Live! after staging a one-woman boycott after learning April 19 of Strahan's departure less than an hour before the news was announced to the media.
On Tuesday, Ripa walked onstage holding hands with Strahan and declared, "our long national nightmare is over." She also joked that on hand were “trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message.”
Indeed, Strahan and ABC executives remained in the dark about what exactly Ripa would say when she took the stage for her live program Tuesday at 9 a.m.
But Disney-ABC executives also assured Ripa she could have her moment, after spending several days repairing the damage with personal apologies from Disney-ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood, daytime chief Rebecca Campbell and ABC News president James Goldston. Campbell, who runs the ABC-owned stations group and who was given purview over daytime last February, flew to New York from Burbank on Sunday night to personally oversee Ripa’s return to the show. WABC general manager Dave Davis — who was in the room April 19 when Strahan hastily broke the news to his co-host — also was at Live! this morning. WABC produces Live! With Kelly and Michael.
Ripa also delivered a critique of the way corporate executives kept her out of the loop during the Strahan-GMA negotiation. “What transpired 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 the workplace," she said.
She also noted that ABC executives have assured her Live! is a priority; she has believed that the company prioritized GMA over Live! since they originally poached Strahan for a part-time gig on the morning show in 2014. And she finally congratulated her soon-to-be-former colleague on his new job and thanked the audience for their love and support over the last several days.
ABC executives are probably hoping that having Strahan exit in May rather than September will allow viewers to also move on and forget about the behind-the-scenes turmoil sooner rather than later. Ripa's decision not to return to work last week was covered heavily in the media, and questions began swirling around her working relationship with Strahan right as he prepares to move into a higher-profile role on GMA.
In keeping with tradition, Live! will tap several guest co-hosts to find a successor.