In an interview with David Marchese in The New York Times, Strahan opened up about his controversial 2016 departure from Live! With Kelly and Michael. His leaving the show was quick and caused a mini-crisis with Ripa, who took an unannounced week off following the announcement. He officially departed the show May 13, three months earlier than originally planned.
Strahan likened his TV career to his time in the National Football League with the New York Giants, where he starred and has had his number unofficially retired. While acknowledging the physical demands of football, he noted, “But the mental aspect of working in TV is like it was in football. I don’t want to be on the show and feel like everyone else is carrying me. I want us all to be successful. I’ve done things where I went in with team concepts, and I got there and realized it’s not about team. It’s selfish, and I don’t operate well under that.”
Asked to clarify whether he meant sports or TV were selfish, Strahan said “both.” However, “on television, I’ve had jobs where I got there and felt like ‘Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner.'”
Strahan seemed to indicate that any problems that stemmed from that situation were not his fault. “Well, I remained the same person I was from Day 1. One thing I will not do is alter my attitude for somebody else’s. I learned so much from Kelly, so much from (executive producer) Michael Gelman. When it was time to go, it was time to go. Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up.”
He did acknowledge his departure from the show “could have been handled better.”
“I didn’t wake up and say, ‘I want a job at ‘G.M.A.’” I was asked to do it by the people who run the network. It was really not a choice. It was a request. But it was treated as if I was the guy who walked in and said, ‘I’m leaving.’ That part was totally misconstrued, mishandled in every way. People who should have handled it better have all apologized, but a lot of the damage had already been done. For me, it was like: Move on. Success is the best thing. Just keep on moving.”
The behind-the-scenes problems Strahan alluded to included being turned down for his desire to have a meeting with Ripa every few weeks. “We met a few times, and that was fine. But then eventually she said she didn’t need to meet. Can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to do.”
Strahan claimed, “I don’t hate her. I do respect her for what she can do at her job. I cannot say enough about how good she is at her job.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.