Kelly Ripa Returns to “Live!” and explains her absence saying, ” I needed a couple days to gather my thoughts.”
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan were all smiles when they walked on the set of “Live! with Kelly and Michael” Tuesday morning. Ripa, who had been absent since last week, took the stage solo and gave a big smile to the audience, who cheered her on with a standing ovation.
“Guys, guys, guys,” Ripa said as the camera zoomed in on her. “Our long national nightmare is over!” she joked.
Kelly Ripa’s return marks the end of a hectic few days for the show, after ABC announced that Strahan is heading to “Good Morning America” this fall. Ripa reportedly was blindsided by the news and furious with ABC executives that she found out the decision shortly after a news release went out to the rest of the world.
Ripa then decided to not show up for work on Wednesday, which triggered many stories about Ripa’s anger and possible fate of “Live!” itself. Ripa was gone though Monday, although a publicist said her absence Friday and Monday were because of a previously scheduled vacation.
The incident spiraled over the past week, so Ripa took the first few minutes of her show to set the record straight.
First, she thanked the fans for supporting her during this “bizarre time”: “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts,” she said. “After 26 years with this company, I earned the right,” she said.
Ripa sid during her days off, she gained some perspective about Strahan’s departure and how she was told about it, something that might not have happen if she had returned to the show last week. “I didn’t want to say something I might regret,” she explained.
Finally, she turned to her co-host. “I am thrilled for Michael, I am thrilled for you, this is a tremendous opportunity,” she continued. “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!” Ripa concluded. “So let’s get back to what we do best and start the show.”
Strahan then added, “This show has been transforming for me and I know this show lives on because you are the queen of morning television.”
Ripa then smiled and insisted that title still belongs to Oprah.
It looks like these two will be just fine!