Michael Strahan’s co-host, Kelly Ripa, was a no-show on Wednesday, the day after the world — and apparently Ripa, according to reports — found out that Strahan would be going to ABC’s Good Morning America full-time come September.
A spokeswoman for Live with Kelly and Michael said only that Ripa had the day off.
SNL alum Ana Gasteyer gamely filled in for Ripa, while Strahan told viewers what everyone already knows: “I’ve been in the news lately … that I am leaving this show…to go over to GMA full-time, which is going to happen in September,” he said. “It is the same channel.”
(That’s not entirely true. In many markets, Live and Good Morning America air on the ABC owned or affiliated station, but not in all markets since Good Morning America airs on the network and Live is syndicated.)
“Everybody who is watching this show, four years ago when I came here, you still continued to watch this show,” he said. “To everyone who’s come through here in the past four years and watched this show, I thank you guys. We can’t ask for better fans. I’ve worked with an incredible staff here and I’m always available to guest co-host if I get that call because I consider myself a part of this family.”
Strahan thanked Ripa: “I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa,” Strahan said. “Kelly welcomed me here and I’ve learned so much from her. She has been an amazing influence on me, and this has truly changed my life to be here with her. I know this show will continue to be strong and great because of Kelly and [executive producer] Michael Gelman. Kelly, I thank you, I love you, and everyone else here at Live.”
Strahan has been working for GMA twice a week since 2014. Good Morning America had been beating NBC’s Today in a much-written-about ratings battle between the two morning titans, but Today has recently gained back ground.
In the week ended April 10, GMA was down 7% in total viewers to 4.8 million and down 14% in the key adults 25-54 demographic to 1.6 million. Today, meanwhile, was down 2% in total viewers to 4.65 million but up 6% in the demo to 1.83 million.
Meanwhile, Live’s ratings have been up significantly since Strahan came on full-time four years ago, and is second season-to-date only to CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil at a 2.9 live plus same day household rating, according to Nielsen. Live ties Dr. Phil in daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54 at a 1.4.
In Tuesday's release, ABC said Live would start a search for a new co-host, and it’s a process that executive producer Michael Gelman has honed to a fine edge. The last search, which turned up Strahan after Regis Philbin’s retirement, had Strahan appear no less than 20 times on the show before being finally selected. Other runners-up for the host slot were reported to be Josh Groban, Jerry O’Connell and Seth Meyers. Names that are already popping up as contenders are Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris, although Live is unlikely to start its search until this fall when Strahan officially exits.