Despite On-Screen Tension With Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan Intent On ‘Getting Through The Next Few Weeks’

Live! With Kelly And Michael seems well on its way to becoming daytime television’s version of a slow-moving train wreck. Kelly Ripa, still clearly wounded over Michael Strahan’s recent announcement that he is leaving the popular show, landed a few jabs of her own after returning to the program this week. While the relationship between the two celebrities now appears just as tense on screen as it is behind the scenes, sources close to the show claim that Ripa and Strahan have actually been estranged for some time.

As previously noted by Inquisitr and other news outlets, Kelly Ripa rattled Michael Strahan during the Live! Broadcast on Friday with a jocular reference to his two divorces. A noticeably befuddled Strahan managed to roll with the awkwardness, although social media seized on the awkward spectacle, expressing surprise at Ripa’s ability to throw some well-timed shade. The day before, Ripa made a veiled reference to her frustration with ABC and its parent company, Disney. During a segment involving a screeching armadillo, she joked that she wanted to take the animal with her to her next round of contract negotiations.

kelly ripa michael strahan
Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa attend Kelly & Michael LIVE's 2015 Halloween Show at on October 30, 2015 in New York City. [Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images]

According to an unnamed source quoted by E! News, the on-screen tension between Ripa and Strahan is something of an evolution of their rather difficult relationship. E! News also spoke to a Live! “insider” who said that Strahan is trying hard to rise above the fray these days.

“Michael’s priority is to the fans and the staff and he doesn’t get caught up in the nonsense,” the source said. “He’s just focusing on getting through the next few weeks. He’s really excited about his new job.”

After announcing that he would jump to a full-time hosting gig with Good Morning America!, Strahan was expected to stay on with Kelly Ripa at Live! until his contractual obligations were met. His exit date has since been moved to May 13, ostensibly due to some rather significant and public backlash.

A good deal of fans – including the likes of Kelly’s former co-host Regis Philbin and talk show queen Oprah Winfrey – expressed support for Kelly Ripa early on, particularly with regard to how her employers reportedly concealed the details of Strahan’s exit from the show. But some analysts are now speculating that Ripa’s alleged diva-like reaction to the news of Strahan’s departure, along with her on-screen shenanigans, could damage her career in the long run.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 12, 2015 in Hollywood, California where Ripa was honored with her own star. [Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]

In a column published Friday evening, Michael Starr of the New York Post suggested that teasing Michael Strahan about his private life will ultimately cause her to appear less likable to her fans, especially if things get nastier in the near future.

“You’ve done yourself no favors in transitioning from entertaining to petty,” Starr told Kelly Ripa in an open letter of sorts. “Public vindictiveness is never pretty and it rarely accomplishes anything beneficial. And if the past week is any indication, we’re starting to learn that — as your well-polished public veneer rubs off — it’s all-about you. Or should be, anyway.”

Starr also noted that negative publicity garnered by Kelly Ripa would ultimately make Strahan look better and possibly lead to fans forgetting the appearance that he left his former co-host high and dry.

Rumors abound that Kelly Ripa has already let top brass know that she would prefer either Anderson Cooper or Andy Cohen to permanently fill the co-host’s chair once Michael Strahan leaves for good, as noted by Us Magazine. Mario Lopez is reportedly also in the running, and while he has denied that anything long-term is in the works, Lopez added that he anticipates a guest appearance on Live sometime after Michael Strahan bids a final goodbye to Kelly Ripa.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]