Ending the most improbable second act for a Hall of Fame defensive end in history, Michael Strahan is leaving “Live With Kelly and Michael” Friday morning for an even more improbable third act this fall, as co-anchor of “Good Morning America.”
He and co-host Kelly Ripa walked out a few moments ago, joked about the date -- yes, it is Friday the 13th -- then he said:
“It’s bittersweet. Of course you get nervous like this. I’ve done it for four years. It’s a moment I didn’t anticipate -- being here at this point -- but it’s here and I’m gonna enjoy it. I’m not dying. I’m still in the family, and still available to come back and co-host. He added, “I don’t like a big to-do. We come out here every day and do the host chat. That’s what we do. We need to do that right now.”
He joked (“I’m not dying”). Kelly laughed. They both laughed. Just like old times.
(Awkward? Nah: They’ve done this together for four years. They know the routine.)
Strahan leaves a hugely successful show that never expected him to leave. Perhaps he never expected to leave either. Strahan broke the news himself to the show’s surprised staff and co-star, Kelly Ripa, moments after the April 19 edition. The press release followed shortly after.
Ripa — per reports which she has since confirmed — was enraged, then took a “sickout” the rest of the week. The daytime talk show feud of the year (so far) was born — and ABC had apparently bungled the most important transition of the year, too. Strahan and Ripa have resumed their genial on-air camaraderie over the past two weeks. But that may also be what’s called “acting.”
In fact, Ripa has since said her differences lay with ABC, not Strahan. In an interview with People posted online Wednesday, she said: “I’m not dealing with monsters. I don’t think of anybody as a monster or out to get me. But sometimes stability and dependability can be misinterpreted as passive. Like, ‘Oh, we don’t have to worry about her, she’s fine. She’s fine.’ When you’re dealing with big business, it’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with people and that people have feelings.”
Strahan, who has been a part-time contributor and correspondent on “GMA” the past couple of years, will increase his appearances there over the summer, then begin full-time in September. By that point, “Today” will have almost certainly resumed the morning leadership position it ceded to “GMA” almost exactly four years ago, thanks to the tailwind from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. One of Strahan’s first tasks will be to help wrest back the crown.