“Our long national nightmare,” indeed.
In what was a decidedly tongue-in-cheek, but respectful, jibe at the tension that has gripped Live With Kelly and Michael over the last several days, Kelly Ripa took center stage while loyal viewers and the curious tuned in to see what she would do or say.
— The Muse (@dailymuse) April 26, 2016
She did not disappoint. As she and co-host Michael Strahan walked into the studio at the start of Live with Kelly and Michael, holding hands, it was clear that Ripa was ready to address her absence of about a week. There was no Kelly and Michael when Kelly was addressing the audience, though. As warm as she tried to be, it was clear she was ready to address the tension that hung in the air.
Complex reported that Kelly was candid, but careful, as she was addressing her roaring fans. Before Live with Kelly and Michael began in earnest, Kelly said she believed the last week brought about a lot of conversation about “communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace.”
While some may say that since Kelly Ripa is quite well compensated for her work on Live with Kelly and Michael and should have little to complain about — after all, Michael Strahan is an adult, last we checked, and as several Twitter users said, he did not have to clear every move he made with Kelly — there is something to be said about having respect for a close co-worker, even one you might have difficulties with. Kelly and Michael have worked together closely for the last four years, and as a result, Kelly should have been given, at the very least, a heads up by the powers that be at Disney — Live with Kelly and Michael’s parent company — that Strahan was contemplating a move, or that she would be on the lookout for a new co-host in the fall of 2016.
More importantly, though, Kelly said what others often thought she believed — that she felt everyone involved with Live with Kelly and Michael were a family.
“We have an incredible team,” she said, according to the New York Daily News. “We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family. 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.”
Both Kelly and Michael have demonstrated a great deal of loyalty to the program, and while Strahan has done double duty at times with various GMA gigs, it is Kelly who has been the veteran. She began on Live in February, 2001. After 15 years, small wonder that she might feel she deserves at least something of a heads-up when it comes to possibilities that she might be on the hunt for a new co-host sooner rather than later.
Yes, her contract could be up at some point this year, but that does not necessarily mean that Kelly is going anywhere. The Examiner reports that her annual salary is $20 million, with her work on Live with Kelly and Michael netting some $36,000 per episode. That is an incredible salary, particularly when you figure that she is working for a grand total of an hour a day, beyond the requisite meetings that she undoubtedly attends in preparation for the show. Getting $36,000 USD is not a bad opening annual salary for many just breaking into the workforce after college, let alone for someone to make for appearing on television for an hour a day.
But her “sick out” from Live with Kelly and Michael, if it was actually that, as some media outlets have alleged, is about far more than salary. Kelly knows that she is making good money. She wanted to be respected for her contribution to the show, and in not even giving her the courtesy of letting her know well beforehand that Michael Strahan was jumping ship to GMA, the higher ups at Disney and at ABC threw some serious shade at Kelly. Not only has she been a big part of the family at Live since she came on in 2001, she’s been a part of ABC for many years prior.
By not recognizing that Kelly should at least be given a warning of some sort that Michael Strahan was leaving, the studio executives were effectively telling Kelly, “Surprise! Get used to a new sidekick,” and that is not a fair position for anyone working to be placed in. Sure, the Live with Kelly and Michael announcement about Michael Strahan’s departure was a stunner, but it did not have to become the debacle that it did.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) April 26, 2016
Kelly may well have had a vacation planned for some time with her family. Who knows? Last I looked, none of us are privy to her day planner, and outside of her busy career, she also is a mother to three. That means she is busier than some, and in the craziness that ensued in the Strahan announcement and her subsequent departure, news of her heading on vacation may well have been swept under the rug, as it were. Regardless, it looks as though Live with Kelly and Michael is scheduled to continue with its current co-hosts for at least the next few months.
[Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]