Michael Strahan Praises Co-Host Kelly Ripa on 'Live!' Despite Her Not Showing Up for Work
By Jackie Willis
Michael Strahan didn't appear to have any bad blood towards co-host Kelly Ripa when he hit the stage without her on Wednesday's Live! With Kelly and Michael.
A source close to the show tells ET that Ripa decided not to come to work after feeling "blindsided" on Tuesday by the news that Strahan would be leaving the daytime talk show to take a full-time position at Good Morning America.
However, Strahan still chose to express gratitude for his 45-year-old co-host at the end of Wednesday's episode. "I didn't want to say it earlier, but I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa, because Kelly welcomed me here and I've learned so much from her," the former NFL pro said. "She's just been an amazing influence on me, and this has truly changed my life to be here with her."
Strahan continued to throw out positive vibes, insisting that Live! will go on without him. "I know that the show will continue to be strong and great because of Kelly and [executive producer] Michael Gelman and the staff here," he touted. "Because everyone here is so talented. This show has not been around for over 30 years by mistake. That is a very hard thing to do in any business, and it’s because of all the people who work extremely hard here."
The 44-year-old TV personality concluded the show by calling out Ripa one more time. "Kelly, I thank you. I love you, and everyone else here at Live!," he lamented. "I'm not going to cry on TV, mama, but everybody, thank you guys so much."
Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer stood in for Ripa on Wednesday morning as Strahan announced that he will be leaving Live! in September. He was adamant on returning to the show as a guest co-host. "It is the same channel. I am not going anywhere," he said. "I consider myself to be a part of this family."
Following ABC announcing Strahan's exit on Tuesday, ET learned exclusively that Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen and Neil Patrick Harris are in the running to fill the co-host chair. Here is more of what we know: