Though veteran Live! With Kelly and Michael host Kelly Ripa will likely be absent until at least next Tuesday, rumors of a permanent departure have apparently been greatly exaggerated. As previously reported, Ripa's Live co-host Michael Strahan allegedly surprised the whole team with news that he would be leaving the show for a full-time spot on Good Morning America earlier this week. Ripa was a no-show for two days in a row after the big news, prompting many to suspect that the show may very well be losing two hosts.
However, according to sources speaking on the usual condition of anonymity to TMZ, Ripa simply bowing out in protest simply isn't in the cards. "[Ripa] makes a lot of money, but she spends a lot of money," one source told TMZ. "So does [Ripa's husband Mark Consuelos]." Ripa reportedly makes "just shy" of $15 million a year on Live, though sources argue that her lifestyle very much requires that annual $15 million boost. Ripa and her husband recently bought a massive townhouse in New York's Upper East Side and also maintain a mansion in the Hamptons.
During Wednesday's show, Strahan briefly addressed the ongoing drama of his exit by thanking Ripa for her generosity and influence. "I didn't want to say it earlier," Strahan, alongside temporary co-host Ana Gasteyer, said, "but I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa."
Ripa, at least according to People, took her family on an allegedly "long-planned" vacation in the Turks and Caicos and isn't expected to return until (at least) Tuesday. Will the most storied show in daytime TV regain its tension-free charms? Tune in, well, probably tune in within the next few minutes or so for another update.