Kelly Ripa will return to Live! Tuesday, Entertainment Weekly reports. In a Friday email, Ripa thanked her staff for "giving me time to process this new information" that co-host Michael Strahan will be leaving Live! to join Good Morning America full-time in September, reports People. Ripa has been absent from the show since being "blindsided" by the news of Strahan's planned departure last Tuesday. According to reports, Ripa was upset that she learned of the change only moments before it was officially announced. Adding another layer to the morning show drama is speculation that Disney-ABC executives want to expand GMA into the 9am hour currently held by Live!
GMA generated more than $400 million last year, while Live! brought in $80 million, according to EW, which notes: "As long as Live! is profitable, ABC could have a tough time convincing its affiliates to give up a syndicated talk show they licensed through 2020." (Ripa's contract is up next year.) During Wednesday's show, Strahan gave a shout-out to Ripa, saying, "Kelly, I thank you. I love you and everyone else here at Live!" However, a source tells the New York Post that the pair "could not stand each other. It was all for the show."