(((ER ALERT))) Michael Strahan to Leave Live! on May 13th

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Image: People

Earlier in April, it was announced that Michael Strahan would be leaving Live! with Kelly and Michael in September to join Good Morning America full time. Kelly Ripa didn’t take the news too well, reportedly she felt betrayed, and furiously took a few days off from the show.

Upon her return on Tuesday, she addressed the public, stating how proud of Michael she is for this incredible opportunity.

However, beneath her statement, you can read into the body language and sense the tension, especially when Michael expressed that he would always be there and would come back to help if she needed him. Ripa appeared uncomfortable with that remark and moved to change the subject.

Watch clip here.

Well, according to People, Strahan will be stepping down on May 13th and taking the summer off before starting GMA in the fall.

Michael Strahan will be stepping down from his role as co-host of Live! early, PEOPLE has learned exclusively.

“May 13 is his last show,” a source tells PEOPLE. “He’ll take the summer off and GMA can integrate him early before September, and this will give Live! more time to find the co-host. He’s totally fine with that. Now he can enjoy his summer.”

ABC also confirmed the news with this statement to PEOPLE: “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.”

The statement continues, “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.”

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“This plan also allows GMA to start integrating Michael into the show more often this summer before his full-time start in September.”

In addition to the details of Strahan’s departure date, PEOPLE’s source confirmed that ABC executives apologized to Strahan, 44, for putting him in a difficult position, after announcing his departure last week, Ripa called out of work on Wednesday, leading to a tense, weeklong standoff, before she returned to work this morning, joking that the “long national nightmare is over.”

“They admitted that they handled it wrong and put him in a terrible position,” the source says. “The network decided and the show decided that they wanted more time to find the cohost. He’s fine either way.”

 

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SIMONE SAYS:

I agree that Kelly should have been told beforehand, and treated with more professional regard by Executives. However, I’m not sure I liked the way she handled it either; and it seems Michael is now being “forced” off the show early because of things beyond his control. I’m not sure if Kelly had anything to do with that but, as someone who grew up watching Regis and Kathy with my Dad…then Regis and Kelly…then Kelly and Michael…I don’t think I’ll continue watching just for Kelly. I wasn’t a fan of her statement this morning, it didn’t appear genuine to me…and her body language threw me off. I’ll have to wait and see who fills the co-host seat before I make my final verdict on if I’ll still be a loyal viewer. The jury is still out on my end…but I do wish them all the best in this situation and beyond.

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