It’s been a year since one of the most dramatic behind-the-scenes moments in daytime television — the “breakup” of Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. The former Live! With Kelly and Michael co-hosts were seemingly best buds with excellent on-screen chemistry, but when the 45-year-old former NFL player decided to leave the talk show, things went a little sour, to say the least.
After co-hosting Live! together for four years, Michael and the higher-ups at ABC announced his decision to leave for a full-time position at Good Morning America. It was a choice that Kelly, 46, was reportedly not clued into until a half-hour before it leaked publicly. What ensued was a very highly publicized feud — though not between Kelly and Michael, but between Kelly and ABC executives and producers.
“What we’ve explained to [the higher-ups] is, ‘Well, if you had asked us, we would have told you… we need to start looking, because we have summer hiatus, we have vacation time. We need to find people. If we’re going to have this list narrowed down at least to a manageable size by the fall, we need to start now,'” she explained to People after everything went down. “Nobody consulted us initially,” she added.
Are you unsure of how it all played out? Keep reading for a play-by-play timeline of the breakdown of Kelly and Michael.
(Photo Credit: R/R)
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
After that morning’s show wrapped, Kelly was called into a surprise meeting with executive producer Michael Gelman and Dave Davis, the general manager of WABC. After allegedly waiting for 20 minutes, Michael entered the meeting and broke the news that he was leaving Live! for a full-time position at GMA. An insider told the Times that Michael “wanted to be in the room” to deliver the news to Kelly, as he “respects and cares about” her.
Kelly reportedly became furious with Dave and was quoted saying, “Didn’t I tell you this was going to happen? I told you two years ago this was going to happen.” Sources later told Us Weekly that Kelly was “definitely blindsided by the Michael news” and felt disrespected at being left in the dark.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Despite already having a planned vacation from work — a 20th anniversary trip with her husband, Mark Consuelos — starting that Friday, April 22, Kelly took an unplanned vacation day from work on Wednesday. Michael discussed his decision to leave Live! on TV, next to guest co-host Ana Gasteyer, sans Kelly.
“Kelly welcomed me here, and I’ve learned so much from her, and she’s just been an amazing influence on me,” he said. “And this has truly changed my life to be here with her. And I know that the show will continue to be strong and great, because with Kelly and Michael Gelman and the staff — everybody here is so talented and this show has not been around for over 30 years by mistake. Kelly, I thank you. I love you. And everyone else here at Live!“
Thursday, April 22, 2016
Kelly is spotted leaving her NYC home clutching a copy of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell, which many people interpreted as Kelly sending a message to ABC execs. The novel navigates situations in which disadvantages end up being advantages to the underdog and focuses on the balance between the meek and the mighty.
Friday, April 22, 2016
Kelly and Mark are officially on vacation, celebrating their 20th anniversary, but that doesn’t stop the mom-of-three from penning a late-night email to ABC. “I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information. Your kindness, support, and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning. Love, Kelly.”
(Photo Credit: R/R)
Earlier that day, ABC released a statement: “Live! continues to be a vibrant and enduring franchise under our lead host, the extraordinarily talented Kelly Ripa. Live! has successfully transitioned co-hosts twice before and will do so again. Together with Kelly, ABC and the Live! team will begin a new search to find a replacement for Michael.”
Reports continued to swirl that Kelly and Michael had yet to speak to each other one-on-one. A source revealed to Us Weekly that, “Michael still [hadn’t] even heard a peep from her. It wasn’t his place to tell Kelly. The head of the network is supposed to tell the staff these things.”
Monday, April 25, 2016
Andy Cohen — one of Kelly’s closest friends — came to her defense and called out the debacle on his radio show. “I’ve been a TV executive, or a producer, for 25 years, so I’m always fascinated to see how TV things go down. I can’t say this went down in the greatest way,” he said.
Besties Kelly and Andy posing together. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“The thing that no one is talking about is to me, the job of cohosting Live! is the greatest job in TV,” he continued. “And she’s so good at it and he was so good at it, but it’s a job that you take and you take it for life. She’s been at that job for 15 years. I can’t get over that he left Live! where it was the best show… Live with Kelly and Michael! — your name is in the freakin’ title. You can spend your life here. You can spend 15 years here and make serious bank, by the way.”
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Kelly and Michael both received a personal apology from Ben Sherwood, the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, and his leadership team, which included ABC stations president Rebecca Campbell and ABC News president James Goldston. Kelly returned to Live! — beside her to-be-former co-host Michael — and addressed the scandal (and her absence) on live television.
“I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and just like say something I might regret. So what transpired though over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in workplace,” she told viewers.
Kelly and Ryan on the Live! set. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“And since we’re being honest, I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place that I’ve devoted myself to not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all of the producers and the crew who work on this show,” Kelly continued. “We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family. Apologies have been made and the best thing to come out of all of this, you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live! is a priority.”
Monday, May 1, 2017
After nearly a year of searching for a co-host replacement, Ryan Seacrest is announced as Kelly’s new partner, with the title changing to Live With Kelly and Ryan! The year-long search was fraught with a trial of 67 potential co-hosts, including the Keeping Up With the Kardashians executive producer.
“It had to be somebody we would all want to hang out with — and not just on camera because we do all hang out together when we’re not on-camera,” Kelly told People of the decision. “That’s an important thing.”
“We just keep doing it one show at a time,” Kelly said. “We always try to remind ourselves it’s never as good as we think it is and it’s never as bad as we think it is. We just keep marching forward. That’s what we’ve done for years. It’s not a formula I invented. This is a formula that Regis [Philbin] created, and we’re sticking to it.”