Who knew the behind-the-scenes politics of a show like Live! With Kelly and Michael contained more interpersonal drama than a classic episode of Behind the Music? The events of this week, of course, has everyone privy to the apparent dysfunction behind morning TV's foremost stars, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. All currently-in-progress drama aside, the Hollywood Reporter is now claiming that the entire Live time slot may be at stake.
ABC News execs, according to THR, have "long coveted" the addition of another hour of Good Morning America. With Strahan exiting Live to become a full-time GMA anchor late this year, many are speculating that the move is just the beginning of a larger expansion plan for the GMA program. Strahan, sources tell THR, has been brought aboard to help revive waning profit margins and to halt what the network apparently considers a recent "ratings bleed."
"The success of GMA is the No.1 priority of ABC News because it subsidizes the entire news division," an anonymous "ABC News veteran" tells THR of the network’s current plans. An ABC Television spokesperson, of course, insists the network remains dedicated to the future of Live. A third hour of GMA, some predict, could pack in as much as $50 million in fresh revenue each year without adding much of a burden on the production budget. If the rumored time slot bump comes to fruition, Ripa's Live would likely be pushed from 9 a.m. to either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m.
As previously reported, Kelly Ripa has been absent from Live since news of Strahan's broke earlier this week. On Wednesday's show, Strahan took a brief moment to thank Ripa for the opportunity, though that hasn't stopped the rumored animosity wheels from spinning in the press:
Who will save Live! With Kelly and Michael?