Katie Couric has been in front of the camera for years now, bringing news to the masses and doing big interviews, so she knows a thing or two about what it’s like to work in that world. Recently she gave her thoughts on the Kelly Ripa situation, saying she thinks Kelly didn’t feel like she was included in the decision to remove Michael Strahan as her co-host.
“Love Kelly. Love Michael. I’m sure they’re going to work it out. I think transitions are tricky. And frankly, I think she maybe didn’t feel as included as she should have,” Couric told People.
Just one day after the news that Strahan will be moving full-time to Good Morning America was announced, Kelly was a no-show on set and was replaced by Ana Gasteyer. Michael told the audience that he was indeed moving, saying the change would take place in September. However, there have been rumors floating around that it will happen much sooner than that, particularly after Ripa fired some not-so-subtle shots at Strahan last week during their segments.
“Good morning, everybody. Kelly is off today… Yes, I am leaving this show. I’m going to go over to GMA full-time. Which is going to happen in September. And it’s the same channel!” Strahan said.
Kelly Ripa was reportedly upset when Michael began doing two GMA shows per week. When she returned to Live! With Kelly And Michael, she gave a speech to the audience regarding what had happened.
Katie Couric says Ripa should have been part of the negotiations, or at least well-informed of what was happening, but Ripa reportedly felt “blindsided” by the news.
“I think that’s a major decision and you would like to think that it’s something she is a part of. It’s perplexing as to why she wasn’t. But I think she is a consummate professional. I know she’ll show up and give it 100 percent,” Couric said.
Whatever might have happened between Kelly and the producers, Michael was sure to thank Kelly on-air, saying he has learned so much from her over the years.
“I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa. Kelly welcomed me here and I’ve learned so much from her. She’s just been an amazing influence on me and this has truly changed my life to be here with her. And I know that the show will continue to be strong and great because of Kelly… and the staff here because everybody here is so talented. This show has not been around for over 30 years by mistake,” Michael said.
Katie Couric knows something about being in a difficult situation when it comes to work. Several years ago, when she made the move to CBS Evening News expecting to be able to share her ideas, she changed a few things–bringing in a bigger celebrity element, for instance–and was rewarded with a sharp drop in viewers. Afterward, Couric made changes of a different kind, scrapping her usual cheerful, bright on-air personality for a more somber approach.
“I think I underestimated the feeling that some might have that I was a morning-show personality and not a credible news person. Which I, quite frankly, think is patently unfair,” Couric told New York Magazine.
Katie says she’s learned a lot over the years about change — and how people react to it.
“I think the one thing that I realized, looking back at it and analyzing it, is people are very unforgiving and very resistant to change. The biggest mistake we made is we tried new things… I’ve gone through a bit of a feeding frenzy and there’s blood in the water and I’ve got some vulnerabilities. This person who’s been successful isn’t so great, and finally she’s been put in her place—that kind of mentality. I think it’s fairly primal,” Katie Couric said.
[Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Stringer/Getty Images]