“It’s your final day on the show and we all came today to celebrate you,” added Ripa, who wore a very somber, stunning black dress, instead of the florals she’s favored this spring. All Live With Kelly and Michael merchandise is now available at a deep discount, she announced.
“It’s bittersweet,” Strahan began, pulling out some of the same lines he’d delivered on the show’s first broadcast after it was announced he was leaving to join Good Morning America full time. Lines like, “I’m not dying,” and how he’d still be part of the Disney-ABC family over at GMA. Only then, he’d had to say them to fill-in co-host Ana Gasteyer because Ripa had gone MIA after learning of his exit plans only shortly before the press did.
“Of course you get nervous. I’ve done this for four years… This is a moment that I didn’t anticipate being here. At least at this point,” Strahan said. Because of course, it originally was announced he was leaving in September, only when Ripa returned to the show, after receiving apologies from top ABC brass for the late notice, the company announced he’d be leaving today instead.
“I start a vacation in a couple of weeks,” Ripa quipped.
So far, so good. First guest Matt Bomer navigated the potential landmine, saying “I got to get a little sad to start this off, and thank Michael for helping the great, unrequited love of my life, Kelly Ripa host the show so well,” he said, deftly. “It’s been a pleasure doing this with you for four years. And whether you’re here, looking all dapper, or in a gold lame thong on the set of Magic Mike you always conduct yourself with a great intelligence and grace and generosity and I wish you all the best.”
“And my girl here is the best in the business; I’m so excited to see where the show goes,” Bomer said, telling Ripa, “I’ve been doing this for eight years. This is the best you’ve ever looked.” Instincts like that can’t be taught.
Closing the show, Ripa said she and the staff “couldn’t be prouder of you. You have given us so much joy in the morning, from your smile to your sense of humor, to your horrible French accent…I look forward to watching you every morning and see what else you achieve over at Good Morning America.”
Strahan got in the last word, thanking the audience. “I didn’t know what to expect, coming from sports to daytime television. And you opened up your heart to me and your homes to me. It means the world that you give us an hour of your day. We get more for that hour than you really do,” he said, which anyone who has read about their salaries knows to be entirely accurate.
Thanking the staff and the crew, he took Ripa in his arms and said, “you are the best. I love you, baby.”
And they all lived Happily Ever After.