Michael Strahan’s Exit Reveals a Sexist Media

LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -2012 - New gallery selects. (Disney-ABC/Jim Wright) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -2012 – New gallery selects. (Disney-ABC/Jim Wright)

When Michael Strahan announced his exit from Live with Kelly and Michael, the public was apparently just as shocked as his costar. Sources reveal that the original plan was to tell Kelly Ripa well before the rest of the world, but when the story leaked, the timeline became truncated. Kelly ditched her desk the following day for an early exit on an already planned vacation, which prompted Strahan to publicly thank her with some canned comments.

Ripa’s primary objection surrounds not only the timeline, but the idea that both shows are under the Disney umbrella, and Bob Iger obviously values ‘Good Morning America’ more than ‘Live With Kelly and Michael,’ because taking her costar clearly puts one show at risk at the advantage of another. Furthermore, why would execs demand Strahan keep this a secret? If they’re all on the same team, then isn’t it fair to tell his longtime partner about the deal? Surely they’d know she would not leak the news. And finally, it’s disloyal. Ripa is an extremely valuable, high-performing partner on a major, revenue-generating show, and Strahan owes her everything. She obviously played a role in his hiring, influenced his success, and at times — carried him.

One would think that the press surrounding this situation would focus on Strahan’s disloyalty, along with taking the executives to task. But it’s shockingly (or not so shockingly) gone the other direction. Ripa has been portrayed as a drama queen who had an emotional “meltdown” or “tantrum” and immaturely didn’t show up for work. As for Strahan, he’s a “stand up guy” who didn’t have to be in the meeting with Ripa to break the news but chose to do so anyways out of the kindness of his heart. ABC is banking on Strahan’s likability on their bubble-gum daytime show, and if his departure gets tainted, their plan tanks. It’s therefore clear who’s behind these leaks, but the media is taking the bait, and falling into the same gender traps women have been arguing against for some time. Ripa is a powerhouse performer and Strahan betrayed her. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

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