Following Kelly Ripa's return to LIVE with Kelly and Michael on Tuesday, April 26 comes word that Michael Strahan will leave the talk show months earlier than originally expected. Michael will now exit on Friday, May 13, instead of the originally announced September end date, Deadline reports.
“After meeting with the producers of both Live and Good Morning America, and after speaking with Kelly and Michael, we have decided on a plan that best advantages both shows for the future,” a show spokesperson said in a statement. “To that end, Michael’s last day on Live will be on Friday, May 13, which not only gives the show the chance to have a nice send-off for him during the May book, but to also immediately begin the on-air search for a new co-host. This plan also allows GMA to start integrating Michael into the show more often this summer before his full-time start in September.”
The move comes as Kelly's contract is slated to expire in 2017. Auditions will begin to replace Strahan over the next few months. On Tuesday, after a nearly week-long absence from the show, Kelly addressed the behind-the-scenes drama following the surprise news of Strahan's departure from the show.
"Guys, guys, guys. Guys, guys, guys, our long national nightmare is over," Kelly told the audience. "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."
You can check out her full statement below.
Click through photos of Kelly in the WWHL Clubhouse, below.