Kelly Ripa is back at work. After Le Scandal of ABC not telling her they were moving Michael Strahan to “Good Morning America,” Ripa has cooled off. Now she knows how Johnny Carson felt when Joan Rivers didn’t tell him she was leaving for her own talk show.
Did Ripa overreact? A little. ABC can’t cancel “Live.” It’s a syndicated hour. The affiliates will not give it back for “GMA” to be extended. Also, with Disney, “Live” is too solid a long term hit. Disney doesn’t want that bad publicity. Ripa has been with them since she was about 21, on “All My Children.” Squandering her would be a huge mistake. I think she should be thrilled. She gets rid of Strahan, who she didn’t like, and can bring in guest hosts from now til the fall. When she and Michael Gelman choose a replacement, it will be big ratings again. I think it’s win-win for her. And Strahan? At GMA, he will be a feature reporter. He’s not replacing George Stephanopolous.
Here is what she said:
“Guys, guys, guys. Guys, guys, guys, our long national nightmare is over. Please, be seated. Look, I am not — I’m going to be completely honest. I’m fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message. OK. I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I really — I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company, I earned the right and let’s be honest. I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other.”
She didn’t stint on taking her time to give an opinion. “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,” she told viewers. “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 the workplace. 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. We have an incredible team.”
Ripa added: “We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family,” she said. “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.”
The crowd applauded. “Guys, calm down. They didn’t say anything about Christmas bonuses. But there is a commitment to this show and that the people that work here and most importantly to you, the viewers, who have watched us every day for 30 years. I am thrilled for Michael. I’m thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn’t be and we couldn’t be prouder of you. And everything we accomplished together. So back to the show, this is entertainment. It’s supposed to be entertaining. So let’s get back to what we do best and start the show. Oh, wait. Incidentally, I just want to say one thing. My dad who was a bus driver for 30 years thinks we’re all crazy. And I think he’s right.”