Kelly Ripa returned to Live! With Kelly And Michael this morning after taking four days off of work. The Live! co-host was all smiles as she walked on set, holding hands with Michael Strahan. This was the very first time that Kelly Ripa spoke publicly about Michael's decision to leave their show and head to Good Morning America on a full-time basis.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Kelly Ripa felt blindsided by Michael Strahan's decision to leave Live!, as she wasn't given any sort of advance notice. She was told just hours before the announcement was made publicly. Ripa then called into work "sick" on Wednesday and Thursday before heading on a pre-planned vacation with her husband, Mark Consuelos.
Kelly Ripa's return to Live! on Tuesday morning was highly anticipated. The blonde firecracker had no choice but to address the situation -- and she did so with class. According to USA Today, Kelly Ripa kept things light-hearted, but she was very direct.
"Guys, our long national nightmare is over. I first want to honestly sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support to this bizarre time has really been overwhelming. I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts; after 26 years with this company, I earned the right. And let's be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other," Ripa said.
Kelly Ripa went on to praise Michael Strahan, telling him how proud she is of him and how happy she is for him. Strahan responded in kind, letting Kelly know just how much he appreciates her.
"I'm so happy you're back... I love you, and I'm so happy you're here, because you want me here." He called her "the queen of morning television," Michael said.
"[If nothing else, we] started a much greater conversation about communication, and consideration, and most importantly respect in the workplace... apologies have been made, and the best thing to come out of all of this, you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live! is a priority... (and) there is a commitment to the show," she said.
According to Radar Online, all of this occurred after a "tense" sit down, where Kelly and Michael talked for the first time since this all went down last week. While everything may have seemed genuine, sources tell the site that the on-air dialogue was "carefully scripted."
Whether that's the case or not, Kelly Ripa seems like she's ready to let this all blow over. According to CNN Money, ABC execs apologized to her for how they handled the situation, which many feel was the right thing to do.
"The personal apology was conveyed by Ben Sherwood, the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, and his leadership team, including ABC stations president Rebecca Campbell and ABC News president James Goldston."Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan will be working together until September. Over the next couple of months, execs will be working diligently to find a Live! co-host. Rumored frontrunners are Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper, but no decisions have been made at this time.
Watch Kelly Ripa explain her Live absence, congratulate Michael Strahan https://t.co/gmtPE4fajr pic.twitter.com/e4jOqXDlPwKelly Ripa doesn't want to lose her spot on Live! and doesn't have plans to find herself a new gig.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) April 26, 2016
"She doesn't want a problem. I think Kelly Ripa has one of the best gigs on television. She gets $20 million a year to go on and talk about headlines and have fun," said the Hollywood Reporter editor Janice Min on CNN's Reliable Sources.
[Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]