Warning there were probably "trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message," Kelly Ripa returned to ABC's Live With Kelly and Michael on Tuesday, proclaiming "our long national nightmare is over," Entertainment Weekly reports. Ripa had skipped nearly a week after Michael Strahan's defection to Good Morning America. And though TMZ caught a glimpse of a dour-looking Ripa leaving home Tuesday, all was (seemingly) well as she came onstage holding hands with Strahan, Us reports. "I really … needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts," she said, noting her break had given her "perspective" and helped her avoid saying "something I might regret." She added she was "thrilled for Michael."
"It started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in the workplace," she continued. And Ripa's worst fears—that Live is headed toward ABC's exit ramp—appear to have been allayed. "Apologies have been made," she said. "The best thing to come out of all of this is that our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority." Via TV Guide, CNN reports that olive branch was reportedly extended to Ripa by Ben Sherwood, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group. As for Strahan, he turned up the compliment dial. "You love this show, you love the fans, you love the staff; I love you," he said. "You are the queen of morning TV … I'm happy you are here." Ripa's reply: "I don't know where else to be."