Watch the full video of Kelly Ripa returning to ‘Live with Kelly and Michael’ a week after reportedly being “blindsided” by the announcement that her co-host, Michael Strahan, was leaving the show to join ‘GMA’ full time.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan

Photo: Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan
Credit: PR Photos

It was one of those television moments. No doubt the ratings for this episode of ‘Live with Kelly and Michael,’ were the highest in years. A show that’s been around for 30 years, since its early beginnings as a local New York City talk show with its former co-hosts Regis Filbin and Kathie Lee Gifford.

The current co-host 45-year-old Kelly Ripa walked on stage, hand in hand with soon to be departing co-host 42-year-old former NFL star Michael Strahan to an extended standing ovation from the audience. It seemed to go on and on, the applause.

As it died down, Ripa began, saying, “Guys, guys, guys. Guys, guys, guys, our long national nightmare is over.” Which only prompted more cheering and applause.

She went on, to say, “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.”

An obvious reference to concerns that she just might do just that. According to CNN, she received a personal apology from top executives at ABC and parent company Disney. This amidst the reports that she had been told of Michael Strahan’s new job at ‘Good Morning America’ just moments before it was announced to the public.

Ripa went on to thank the audience for “welcoming me back to the show” and adding, “The love the show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming.

From there she delivered a powerful speech framing the past several days as a workplace drama, indeed one that didn’t need to happen. She said, “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company, I earn the right and let’s be honest. I know half of you called in sick to be here. So we get each other.”

Continuing, she went on to say, ” In that time, 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. 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.”

After noting that for her it was more than a workplace, that it was a second home to her, she said, ” We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family. 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.”

Finally, she praised her co-host for his promotion, saying, “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.”

After a round of extended applause, she wrapped up her speech and said, “So back to the show, this entertainment. It’s supposed to be entertaining. So let’s get back to what we do best and start the show.”

She added, “Incidentally, I just want to say one thing. My dad who was a bus driver for 30 years thinks we’re all crazy.”

For his part, Michael Strahan praised his co-host, saying in part, “You love the fans. You love this staff. I love you.” In thanking her for bringing him on the show, he said “it’s been transforming for me” and he went on to say, “And I know the show lives on because you are the queen of morning television.”

Jokingly she rebuked him, saying, “Oprah’s the real queen. How dare you?”

It marked Kelly Ripa’s first public remarks in a week since her absence from the show. In the interim, a proverbial cottage industry of speculation has grown, with many news and media outlets citing various unnamed sources and painting a variety of narratives.

Michael Strahan, on the other hand, had spoken out, in advance of her return. According to US Weekly, he spoke with Jonathan Tisch at a Help USA and 92Y’s Change Makers Event in New York City, saying, “So for me, I don’t look at it as if I’m leaving one show in a lurch. I look at it as if, ‘You know what? I’m needed in this part of the family for now.’

Addressing all of the uproar, Strahan added, “I think it’s just unfortunate how everything seems to be for a lot of people outside, because everyone has an opinion, without understanding what’s going on and that’s why. … You take the high road.”

And of course, the discussion is not over; after all, many questions are left unanswered. In retrospect, it could have all been avoided, it seems, has Kelly Ripa been informed in a timely manner. There wouldn’t have been a need for a high road or a low road. But as it is, speculation is ongoing.

You can see the full video below, as Kelly Ripa returns to ‘Live with Kelly and Michael.’

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