Kelly Ripa was right to freak out over Michael Strahan leaving Live!
Kelly Ripa was totally blindsided by Michael Strahan's huge GMA announcement, and now she is boycotting her own show. Could this be the end of Live!?
Ripa by all accounts had no idea Strahan was even considering leaving their incredibly successful morning show, and she is absolutely furious that she was nearly the last to know. Basically, she completely lost her shit.
"She went crazy," an insider told People magazine, adding that she reacted "like a lunatic. Crazy."
A network source added, "It's a corporate decision. And that came from the top people and the president of ABC, and Kelly is probably enraged because she gave him a shot and he ran with it."
Ripa is so angry that she didn't show up for work today, leaving producers scrambling to find a sub for her (Ana Gasteyer jumped in the hot seat). "She called the network at midnight last night to say that she said she wasn't coming in," the source said. "People love this guy. She should be mad at the network. Not be mad at him."
And why is that? Because by all accounts, the decision to switch shows wasn't Strahan's — it came down directly from the top in an attempt to breathe new life into GMA's lackluster ratings.
"GMA has been in freefall," the network source explained. "Their show has been number one for four years, and GMA was freaking out because Today is getting better and getting younger fans, and therefore they moved Michael because they are trying to close the gap with a younger demographic."
But the decision could mean the end of Live!, because apparently the network is also considering axing the show for a third hour of GMA.
"Company executives have wanted to extend GMA to a third hour for years — fixated on it, really," the source continued.
"Now, Live!, because it's syndicated, also brings in hundreds of millions, so this is a huge risk," the first source told People. "This was bigger than just Michael wanting to do more, because of the money involved. This would have been a company decision."
If Live! continues after Strahan's exit next fall, Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris are reportedly being considered as replacements.
As far as Ripa goes, producers "don't know yet when she'll be back."