Kelly Ripa Returns To “Live!”


Kelly Ripa Returns

( 4UMF NEWS ) Kelly Ripa Returns To "Live!" :

Michael Strahan may still be co-host of "Live!" for another few months, but it's already the Kelly Ripa Show.

Ripa made a passive-aggressive return to the morning show Tuesday with a dramatic monologue about “communication and consideration” and “respect in the workplace.”

“Our long national nightmare is over. Please sit down,” she told her studio audience after drinking in a lengthy standing ovation with her hands over her heart. “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.

“I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show,” she continued. “The love, the show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right.”

Ripa’s lecture bookended a days-long drama that began last Tuesday, when the talk-show vet learned just moments before the public that Strahan would be leapfrogging to a higher-profile gig at “Good Morning America” in September.

She pitched a “fit” over being kept in the dark, insiders told the Daily News, before taking an unexpected “sick day” Wednesday and then disappearing on a 20th anniversary trip to Turks and Caicos with her husband, Mark Consuelos. But Ripa, walking out hand in hand with Strahan Tuesday, appeared to have come to terms with her TV husband being traded to another team — and seemed convinced his lateral move at ABC wouldn’t affect the success of her show.

“We are family. Apologies have been made,” she said. “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 ... There is a commitment to this show and the people that work here.”

Then, at long last, Ripa publicly extended her congratulations to Strahan.

“I am thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity, and I couldn’t be and we couldn’t be prouder of you,” she said. “So back to the show. This is entertainment. It’s supposed to be entertaining.”

The former Giants star, a beacon of optimism throughout the weeklong spectacle, praised Ripa as "the queen of morning television" — a title she immediately yielded to Oprah Winfrey.

"You love the show. You love the fans. You love this staff. I love you," he told her once they were seated. "And I’m so happy you're here."

Show producers had scrambled to fill her spot on Wednesday’s show until “Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer stepped up. Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews guest co-hosted Thursday and Friday, and “Pretty Little Liars” star Shay Mitchell filled in Monday.

Ripa, meanwhile, screened repeated phone calls from Strahan, sources told The News' Confidenti@l column. She stepped out in New York Thursday pointedly carrying a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath," and finally broke her silence in an email to staff late Friday night.

“I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information,” she wrote. “Your kindness, support and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning. Love, Kelly.”