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Michael Strahan’s Departure From ‘Live’ Moved Up to May 13

On the heels of Kelly Ripa’s emotional address to viewers, ABC has confirmed Michael Strahan will be saying goodbye to the “Live with Kelly and Michael” audience much sooner than originally planned.

ABC said Strahan will bow out on the May 13 edition of the syndicated morning show, allowing producers and co-host Kelly Ripa time to begin auditioning guest hosts to fill his shoes. The original plan was for him to stick with Ripa as co-host through the summer before shifting to “Good Morning America” full-time in the fall. But the announcement of that plan last week rankled Ripa, who protested by sitting out the show for three days last week.

The standoff made for squirmy TV moments for ABC brass while they tried to do damage control in real time with Ripa and with Strahan. On Tuesday, Ripa returned to “Live” for the first time since April 19 and addressed viewers in frank and heartfelt terms about the situation at the top of the show. That made for compelling TV as Ripa’s remarks gave viewers a glimpse of television’s behind-the-scenes maneuvers.

ABC to its credit has acknowledged that the handling of the Strahan shift, and the decision not to tell Ripa until the last minute last week, was a bad bungle. Ripa and Strahan have received apologies from key ABC execs, and she was afforded a good five minutes at the top of Tuesday’s “Live” to speak her piece.

Clearly, after all that transpired during the past seven days it made no sense to keep Strahan in place on “Live” through the summer.

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

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