Kelly Ripa has a lot of folks pulling for her ever since her co-host Michael Strahan made the shocking announcement earlier this week that he is leaving Live! With Kelly And Michael for the ostensibly greener pastures at Good Morning America. As previously reported by Inquisitr and other news outlets, Strahan’s announcement came as a complete surprise to his co-host, allegedly leaving Kelly Ripa “blindsided” and “upset.” Ripa took the day off from the show following Strahan’s announcement and left early for a previously scheduled trip the following day.
What appears to be a developing rift between Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan has some taking sides, not necessarily to take issue with Strahan but to criticize how ABC and its parent company Disney have handled the situation. TMZ photographers caught up with Kelly Ripa’s former co-star, show business legend Regis Philbin, in New York City on Thursday and asked him to weigh in on the drama behind the scenes at Live!
“I haven’t talked to anybody… Gelman – I don’t want to know,” Regis said in video posted by TMZ. But he also stuck up for Ripa adding, “They should have told her from the beginning.”
Asked if he thought Kelly has been treated badly throughout the situation with Strahan, Regis was largely sympathetic to Ripa. He also shared considerable praise for Michael Strahan.
“He’s great,” Philbin said of Strahan. “He was great with the Giants, he’s good on our show. He’s doing a lot of stuff.” Regis noted that the team at Good Morning America is in need of talent like Strahan as they struggle to keep up with The Today Show. “He’s a real pro and they’re going to use him down there, because they’re in second place right now.”
According to a report by New York Daily News, Oprah Winfrey also expressed support for Kelly Ripa during a brief conversation with an Entertainment Tonight reporter on Wednesday.
“Blindsided is never good,” Winfrey said. “I don’t know who’s in charge, but somebody should’ve said, ‘This is gonna happen.’ You shouldn’t have to read it in the paper. Ever.”
Kelly Ripa is not entirely without some detractors at the moment, though. New York Daily News noted that “industry insiders” were shocked when Ripa allegedly threw a diva-style fit after learning of Strahan’s imminent departure. As noted above, Ripa has been conspicuously absent from her own show after wrapping up the Tuesday episode of Live!, leading some to speculate that she is sending a message to Disney execs.
“I can’t think of another case like this where a big star on TV is sort of orchestrating a sick out,” said CNN’s Brian Shelter in a video posted by E! Online. “She’s on strike from her own show. It’s a peculiar situation, but in Hollywood there are ways to get out of work. There are certain illnesses that you can call out for and they can’t prove you’re not sick. If you say you have a migraine or if you say you have back pain, if you say you have anxiety, there’s no way to for the network to disprove that.”
In subsequent comments, Shelter described the controversy as a matter of “basic disrespect.”
As for 84-year-old television icon Regis Philbin, he noted that there are a lot of good candidates gunning for the spot as Kelly Ripa’s new co-host, but added that he is not one of them.
“She’s got a bunch of people that she likes,” Regis said. “Whoever it is, God bless him. Regis has had enough!”
[Photo by Chance Yeh/Getty Images]