After weeks of drama, Michael Strahan has announced he’ll be leaving Kelly Ripa and Live with Kelly and Michael on May 13 to become co-anchor at Good Morning America. Ripa, at least for the moment, will be left solo, filling the vacancy with guest hosts until a permanent replacement can be found.
Ripa spoke out to People magazine about the whole situation, and how it felt — after working in the business for 26 years — to not hear a word about Strahan’s intention to leave, from both the network and Strahan himself.
“There’s a part of me that can say, ‘OK, I understand. This may have been an oversight,'” Ripa said about getting information after-the-fact. “And again, after 26 years, at this point we are like a family. And sometimes when you are so comfortable with somebody, you may not give them the same consideration as somebody you’re not as comfortable with. A certain formality falls away.”
“I think that all people are deserving of fair treatment in the workplace. People deserve respect,” Ripa continued. “People should be treated equally and with dignity.”
Ripa received a personal apology from top executives at Disney and ABC after the incident, who said they “expressed regret for the way Kelly was told the news.”
“I think that requires a certain amount of empathy on a level,” she said. “When you’re dealing with big business, it’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with people and that people have feelings. It’s easy to just look at it like a business unit, a unit, a unit.”
Despite it all, Ripa has had time to digest the situation and holds no hard feelings against the show, Strahan, or the executives.
“I’m not dealing with monsters,” she said. “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.’ And I am fine, but I need assurances that we’re all going to be fine.”
Her contract with Disney/ABC will end next year. She has been a co-host of the show since 2001 when she shared the screen with Regis Philbin.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Kelly Ripa has been with Live for 26 years. She has, in fact, been in the broadcasting business for 26 years. Global News has made a correction and regrets the error.