Kelly Ripa joked that our "long, national nightmare" was over when she returned from her anniversary trip that started early when Michael Strahan announced his departure from Live! With Kelly And Michael after only four years. She was almost right. The actual "nightmare" of watching the awkward exchanges actually ended today as Michael took a seat for the last time as official co-host of the morning show.
Ripa was quick to point out that Strahan's last day fell on Friday the 13th. Completely by coincidence, she pointed out. Even though it was Ripa that insisted Strahan exit early instead of September, as originally announced.
Things have been awkward during the show's signature host chat since the controversy blew up and Michael's last show was no different. In addition to making the comment about Friday the 13th, Ripa said, "We all came today to celebrate you." The sentiment seemed genuine but with all of the talk about a frosty relationship between the two, it could read as a little forced. Particularly since she then talked about a sale on discounted Live! merchandise.
Michael, who has been deferential to Ripa on air since her return, said it was a good day and he would always be open to returning to fill in as a co-host and that he was still "part of the family" referring to the fact that he's still part of the Disney morning show universe even if he will be at Good Morning America. His tone changed a little when he said, "I didn't anticipate being here at this point," probably referring to the early departure.
Though, it wasn't all subtext and awkwardness. The final moments of the show saw both hosts exchange professional, yet heartfelt good-byes. "We couldn't be prouder of you," Kelly Ripa said, sharing a toast with Strahan.
And for a lot of viewers and fans, they couldn't be prouder of Ripa.