By Nicole Moschella
Kelly Ripa has spoken.
The daytime TV hostess spilled about the drama surrounding her “Live! with Kelly and Michael” co-host’s exit to PEOPLE.
In April, it was announced that Michael Strahan would be leaving his gig on “Live!” to join “Good Morning America” full time, starting in September. When he announced his departure to viewers, he assured everyone that he would be sticking around through the summer. But, less than one week later, ABC executives announced his last day on the show would actually be May 13.
Rumors quickly spread that Ripa’s behavior could be the reason why he decided to leave earlier than originally planned but she tells a different story. She revealed that she and staff members on “Live!” were behind the decision to move Strahan’s last day up, not because of her actions backstage, but because she stressed the importance of finding a proper replacement.
“What we’ve explained to them is, ‘well, if you had asked us, we would have told you, Guys, we need to start looking, because we have summer hiatus, we have vacation time. We need to find people. If we’re going to have this list narrowed down at least to a manageable size by the fall, we need to start now,’” Ripa told PEOPLE. She also made something very clear, “nobody consulted us initially.”
They are currently looking for a replacement that will have on-screen chemistry with Ripa. She revealed that she would “love” for Anderson Cooper to join her on “Live!”
While she may not know who will be joining her in the future, she revealed how she and the crew on “Live!” are keeping this up and running.
“We just keep doing it one show at a time,” she said. “We always try to remind ourselves it’s never as good as we think it is and it’s never as bad as we think it is. We just keep marching forward. That’s what we’ve done for years. It’s not a formula I invented. This is a formula that Regis [Philbin] created, and we’re sticking to it.”
While “Live!” figures out who will replace Strahan, Jimmy Kimmel will sub in and serve as interim co-host starting Monday, May 16.