Kelly Ripa takes the day off from ‘Live’ after Michael Strahan announces departure

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on the set of "Live With Kelly and Michael" in September 2012. Strahan is departing "Live" for "Good Morning America" this fall.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on the set of “Live With Kelly and Michael” in September 2012. Strahan is departing “Live” for “Good Morning America” this fall.

(Charles Sykes / Invision/Associated Press)

Michael Strahan confirmed Wednesday morning that he would be leaving “Live With Kelly and Michael” in September to join “Good Morning America” full time. But it wasn’t cohost Kelly Ripa sitting at his side when he made the announcement.

Ripa, 45, was mysteriously absent from Wednesday’s show, with Strahan, 44, quickly telling the audience, “Kelly’s off today,” while introducing guest host Ana Gasteyer.

Both TMZ and Entertainment Tonight cite sources close to the show as saying that Ripa was “blindsided” by the news of Strahan’s departure and that the longtime host of “Live” had not been informed of Strahan’s permanent move before ABC announced the news Tuesday morning.


According to sources at ABC, Ripa and her team at “Live” feel that the move emphasizes Disney’s lack of love for the show and that the company’s “singular focus is breathing life into ‘GMA,’” TMZ reports.

Ripa, who had a 12-year run on “All My Children” before joining “Live” in 2001, was chosen from a slew of guest hosts that sat in with Regis Philbin during his solo stint helming the show after Kathie Lee Gifford’s departure in 2000.

The renamed “Live With Regis and Kelly” saw an 80% increase in its young audience demographics, an improvement credited largely to the addition of Ripa, who celebrated her 15th anniversary on the show in February of this year, meaning that she’s now been a fixture of “Live” for as long as Gifford was and whose tenure is only eclipsed by that of original host Philbin.

In Strahan’s address to the audience he thanked viewers for watching, adding that he “considered himself a part of this family forever” and was “always available to cohost.”

The former New York Giants defensive end went on to thank Ripa specifically for welcoming him when he joined the show in 2012 and predicting that the show would continue its 30-plus-year run because of the great people it employed.


“Live” has a long tradition of host changes but generally abides by the rule: Never lose both hosts at the same time. The series got its start in 1983 as “The Morning Show,” with Philbin being paired with two cohosts before Gifford stuck. In 1988, the show changed its name to “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee.” Gifford left the show in 2000 and Philbin stepped aside in 2011, at which point the show had Ripa host with a variety of guest cohosts.

With Strahan not departing for another five months, there’s plenty of time left for Ripa and Disney to make peace, assuming that Ripa ever returns to work. If she doesn’t, look forward to new episodes of “Live with Ana and an Empty Chair.”

Only time will tell what official explanation is produced for Ripa’s absence, be it “family emergency” or “exhaustion” or “mental health day because your job is driving you out of your mind.” In the meantime, Ripa is ideally making the most of her time off, perhaps even in the fashion exhibited below.

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