Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan Reunite on ‘LIVE!’ to Standing Ovation
Kelly Ripa is back!
At the top of the live broadcast, Ripa received a standing ovation from the audience and Strahan that lasted nearly 30 seconds. She then addressed her absence, noting “our long national nightmare is over.”
“I first want to honestly sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show,” said Ripa as the crowd cheered. “The love, the show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming.”
She continued: “I really needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company—I earn that right. In that time, I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and say something I might regret.”
Ripa was reportedly blindsided by the news that Strahan is scheduled to leave the show for “Good Morning America” in September, which she touched on lightly.
“It started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration—and most importantly—respect in the workplace,” said Ripa. “I don’t consider this just a workplace, this is my second home—this is a place I’ve devoted myself to. We are incredibly devoted to one another, we are family.”
The 45-year-old said apologies were received and she’s been given reassurance that the morning talk show is a priority.
Ripa also addressed Strahan’s impending departure, in which she stated she’s “thrilled” for the former NFL star.
“This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn’t be—and we couldn’t be—prouder of you and everything we’ve accomplished together,” she said.
Actresses Shay Mitchell and Ana Gasteyer and journalist Erin Andrews served as guest co hosts when Ripa was away.
While Ripa was away, everyone had an opinion on the happenings surrounding the ABC talk show. Oprah Winfrey praised Strahan, but stated “blindsided is never good” while veteran journalist Katie Couric offered a simple answer to the strife, “it will all work out.“
The case for who will replace Strahan once he leaves is still up for speculation. Regis Philbin has no intention to return to his former position. Ripa’s friend, Andy Cohen—who can’t fathom why Strahan would leave the “greatest job in TV“—is a possible name for Strahan’s replacement along with Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris.
For now, Ripa and Strahan are in it together until September.
“I am so happy you are back,” said Strahan as the pair sat down behind the table. “I love you and I am so happy you’re here because, you brought me here with [executive producer] Gelman and this show has been transforming for me.”
He added: “I know this show will live on because you are the Queen of morning television. You need me—I’m coming back to help out.”
Watch Kelly Ripa’s return above.