“This came together very quickly,” a source close to the show told TheWrap, adding that the deal to move Strahan evolved in just the past five days or so. “I don’t think they told her everything,” the source added, saying it was not the first time Ripa had been kept “in the dark.”
Strahan has co-hosted ABC’s syndicated talk show “Live With Kelly and Michael!” since 2012; Ripa, who has been on the program since 2001, previously co-hosted with Regis Philbin.
But the jump to “GMA,” ABC’s flagship morning show, represents a major promotion for Strahan, a retired NFL star.
“He wanted to make the move,” the source said, adding that Strahan, who has been a frequent “GMA” guest in the past two years, wanted the opportunity to pursue a greater range of stories and topics than he could pursue on “Live.”
There may be tension on set as well. “Kelly has been very moody and emotional the past couple of years and Strahan was dreading going to work,” said one high-ranking daytime TV veteran who insisted on anonymity.
A publicist for Ripa did not return a call and email seeking comment.
But Ripa might have reason to celebrate herself. “As soon as Michael eclipsed her in popularity, she was over him,” the veteran said, adding that Ripa’s wish list for a replacement includes Anderson Cooper, Bravo’s Andy Cohen and Neil Patrick Harris.
Robert Iger, chief of ABC parent Walt Disney Co., did not get personally involved in the deal beyond calling the major talent involved on Tuesday, when Strahan reportedly told Ripa and “Live” executive producer Michael Gelman, according to the show source.
But the elements are in place for an interesting Wednesday show on “Live.”
“Tomorrow’s show’s going to be very telling,” the source close to the show said.