Wow — we did NOT see this one coming! Michael Strahan is stepping down from his co-hosting position on ‘Live!’ WAY earlier than originally planned, leaving fans totally stunned and devastated — does it have something to do with Kelly Ripa?
Just when we thought the drama on Live! was finally starting to cool off after Kelly Ripa, 45, made her epic return to the show on April 26, her co-host, Michael Strahan, 44, announced that he is leaving the show A LOT earlier than expected — four months earlier to be exact. This means Michael will only be co-hosting Live! for about two more weeks!
“May 13 is his last show,” a source revealed to People magazine. “He’ll take the summer off and GMA can integrate him early before September, and this will give Live! more time to find the co-host. He’s totally fine with that. Now he can enjoy his summer.” And while we totally get that Michael may need more time to get acclimated to his position at Good Morning America, we’re completely shocked that he decided to cut his time at Live! SO incredibly short — after all, the television personality announced just last week that he’d be staying until September. What happened?
The source also confirmed that ABC executives apologized to Michael for putting him in a difficult position. And if you ask us, “difficult” is an understatement! After announcing his departure from Live! on April 19, Kelly called out of work the next day, leading to a tense, weeklong standoff. She finally returned to work on April 26, joking that the “long national nightmare is over.”
“They admitted that they handled it wrong and put him in a terrible position,” the source revealed. “The network decided and the show decided that they wanted more time to find the co-host. He’s fine either way.” The source added that “this is not about feeling awkward with Kelly. He was willing to stay until the fall, but the network is saying this gives them more time to find the co-host. He’s a team player. He will do what they ask.”
But even though he’s allegedly NOT leaving because of the tension between him and Kelly, the feud between the two seems more real than ever, especially after Michael’s latest bombshell. Kelly and Michael apparently didn’t even talk before her highly-anticipated return to the show — yikes! They only texted “cordially” over the weekend after she announced she would return, according to the source.
As for the chemistry between the two hosts, the source says that it’s “tense” so apparently it was only a matter of time before Michael announced an earlier departure. “He knew he would be wrapping up early, he just didn’t know exactly when,” gushed the source, adding that he did not speak with Kelly after the show. We just hope these two can keep things cordial for the remaining couple days they have to host together!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you surprised by Michael’s early exit? What do YOU think happened?