When it comes to squabbling, ABC likes to keep it in the family.
It’s doubtful Kelly Ripa knew she was picking a fight when she repeated her feelings about her own network’s “Bachelor/Bachelorette” franchises. And it’s doubtful she knew “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo would come flying in to defend her.
“You know how I feel about the show. It disgusts me,” Ripa told “Live With Kelly & Ryan” cohost Ryan Seacrest on the show Tuesday.
“And I thought that I was disgusted because I couldn’t stand the idea of 25 exceptional women fighting over one ordinary fella, in my opinion,” said Ripa, who’s been a daytime host for ABC since 2000, two years before “The Bachelor” was born. “You know how I feel, ladies: We are too special to be arguing over a guy.”
After a bit of discussion with Seacrest, she added, “Having said that, all you women [in the audience] watch that gross, gross, gross show.”
The audience cheered its support for her, but on Twitter later “Bachelor/Bachelorette” host Chris Harrison did not, and “Bachelor/Bachelorette” showrunner Mike Fleiss did not.
But little did the guys know, Pompeo was waiting in the wings to defend Ripa.
Harrison addressed his Tuesday night tweet to all of “Bachelor Nation,” the show’s ardent fans. “Look out #BachelorNation @KellyRipa is coming after you and your ‘disgusting’ Monday night habit,” he wrote.
An hour later, Fleiss pointed his remark straight at the “Live” host, writing, “Easy, @KellyRipa ... #TheBachelor franchise pays your salary!”
Then on Thursday morning, the same day “Live” was featuring “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown as a guest, Pompeo came in from a social media break to read the guys the riot act.
“Okay @fleissmeister... that’s some handle bro!,” she wrote. “Your show does NOT pay @KellyRipa salary. Also we don’t attack successful women on our network and men certainly cannot take credit for their success. Don’t get me started on your show cuz I’m a savage.... #bachelorsoooowhite.”
That last hashtag was, of course, a reference to the show’s history of selecting white bachelors and bachelorettes, with the exception of “Bachelorette” Season 13’s Rachel Lindsey. Yes, Pompeo was flirting with the show’s third rail.
“Took a break but had to jump back in the ring for my girl @KellyRipa,” Pompeo tweeted at a fan. Before her defense of Ripa, the actress had been off Twitter since late April.
But leave it to the network to make the most of a public spat. Here’s some ABC synergy that was retweeted Wednesday by Fleiss, in which “The Bachelorette” promoted “Live With Kelly & Ryan”: