A Disney-owned show that is supposed to offer up a daily dose of comedy is actually doing better at delivering on the drama these days.
The on-screen chemistry between Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on Live! has translated into great ratings for the ABC owned-and-operated stations. Behind the scenes, however, a very different relationship has cultivated since the former NFL star joined the syndicated show in 2012. Sources confirm to EW that a strained relationship exists between Strahan and Ripa, who is now threatening to stay away from the program for an undetermined amount of time.
Insiders told PEOPLE that after Ripa was “completely blindsided” by the news Strahan was joining Good Morning America full time in September, she decided not to come into work Wednesday. Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer filled in while Strahan made it official by confirming his departure and thanking Ripa for his time on the show. “She has been an amazing influence on me, and this has truly changed my life to be here with her,” said Strahan, who has been appearing on GMA twice a week since 2014.
EW has also learned that Ripa is sometimes kept out of the loop on certain developments involving the Live! show. It’s now unclear when she will return to the program.
“Kelly told ABC she wasn’t coming in last night,” a source told PEOPLE. “They don’t know yet when she’ll be back.”
Ripa is currently on year four of her latest five-year contract, which expires next year. She’s been on the show for 15 years.
By Lynette Rice