Kelly Ripa was trending on Twitter today after she was a no-show this morning on her syndicated talk show. Ripa’s absence fueled reports she got blindsided by yesterday’s announcement Live! co-host Michael Strahan is leaving in September to join Good Morning America full time. More media eyebrow-raising when her absence on the show’s broadcast was followed by no statement from Ripa wishing him well. Ana Gastayer filled in for Ripa on the program this morning, awkwardly, though through no fault of her own.
“Kelly’s off today,” Strahan said, convincing no one, by way of getting things rolling on today’s broadcast.
“I’ve been in the news lately,” he continued, addressing Gastayer, a Saturday Night Live alum who, may be better known to ABC audiences as Suburgatory’s Sheila Shay. “I am leaving this show…to go over to GMA full-time, which is going to happen in September,” he continued, assuring viewers, “It is the same channel.”
“I was reading some stuff and it sounded like I died,” he joked, while media speculation about Ripa’s absence from the chair next to his reached a boil.
Ripa’s not the only one taken by surprise that Disney would up-end a daytime show that, this season is the No. 1 entertainment daytime talk show in households (2.9 rating) and among women 25-54 (1.4 rating-tie), and which, overall, is second among syndicated talkers only to Dr. Phil. It was the talk of the industry yesterday when the news broke. In news circles, pundits suggested it spoke to ABC concerns about Good Morning America, where Strahan is headed full-time. A couple weeks ago, Today show snapped GMA’s 108-week streak as No. 1 in overall audience. It was a red-letter day for the NBC News show which won the weekly ratings race in both total viewers and the news demo, for the first time since since 2012.
Later in the program, Strahan got back to subject at hand:
“I really want to thank Kelly Ripa,” Strahan said, crediting her with welcoming him to the program. “She has been an amazing influence on me, and truly changed my life. Kelly, I thank you, I love you, and everyone else here at Live.”