Oprah was surprised that Live! With Kelly and Michael host Kelly Ripa was “blindsided” by her co-host Michael Strahan’s exit from the show. She believes that Ripa, who has just celebrated her 15 years with the program, should have been treated with respect and that the management should have informed her beforehand.
TMZ caught up with the seasoned TV host at the Tribeca Performing Arts Theater during the premiere of her drama series Greenleaf and asked her of her opinion on Strahan leaving Live! for Good Morning America and Ripa’s disgruntled reaction following the announcement.
Oprah was very excited for Strahan and said that she knows that he will be a great addition to GMA because of hosting abilities. However, Oprah was shocked upon hearing that Ripa was not aware of the changes in the set. According to reports, Ripa only learned of the decision after filming Tuesday’s episode of their daytime program.
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) April 21, 2016
“Nobody told Kelly?” Oprah asked a TMZ staffer in the clip, shocked that the female host was not informed. “Well, she should have never found out like, in the media, that’s what you’re saying? … She shouldn’t have to find out that way.”
However, she did express well wishes for Strahan. “But I’m happy for Michael if that’s what he wants to do.”
Ripa did not show up on the Live! With Kelly and Michael set on Wednesday, but a representative for the show reportedly told Us that the host is currently on vacation with her husband and will not be back until Tuesday. Anna Gasteyer was called in to fill in for Ripa on Wednesday morning, a source said.
While others think that Ripa was just overreacting over Strahan’s exit, Oprah Winfrey feels the actress has every right to feel upset.
Oprah Weighs in on the Kelly Ripa Being Blindsided by ABC
“You work on a show for 15 years and all of a sudden you’re not even told about this seismic change?” Oprah recently told PageSix.
Sources say that ABC’s plan was “for there to be more time between telling Kelly and the announcement”; however, the news leaked, which is why Ripa was caught off guard and left feeling betrayed. Ripa is said to be furious at the management for disrespecting her.
— FanSided (@FanSided) April 20, 2016
Even though Ripa will be left to man the show alone, Oprah believes the host is capable of running Live! With Kelly and Michael on her own.
While she acknowledged how hard it must be for the female host to be “blindsided,” she said she is really happy for Strahan because she believes the former NFL star will do great in his new home. Oprah described the athlete-host as a “natural talent” and added, “He won’t get any sleep, but he will be great.”
In his on-air farewell, Strahan thanked Ripa for welcoming him in the program. He explained that he will go over to GMA “full-time” in September.
“I’ve worked with an incredible staff here, and I’m always here. I’m always available to guest co-host if I get a call because I consider myself to be a part of this family forever,” Strahan consoled the audience.
Confirms Departure from ‘Live!’
Strahan joined the show back in 2012. Insiders have told PageSix that CNN’s Anderson Cooper is being considered to replace Strahan’s spot.
Meanwhile, Greenleaf, a series exclusive produced by Oprah, is scheduled to premiere this June. She shared to ET her experience while filming the show.
“They were all having so much fun, and I tried to figure out a way to get in that I wouldn’t have to commit my whole life to be in,” said the veteran host. “I wanted a role that was recurring that would allow me to be part of this whole experience.”
[Photos by Mike Coppola and Jemal Countess/Getty Images]