After spending several days away from her rightful coffee-stained throne, queen of the morning Kelly Ripa returned to Live! this morning. Did she launch into a Network-style tirade against the media industry? No. Did she address her absence with remarkable composure and a few wry jokes? Yes, of course. "Our long national nightmare is over," Ripa said, walking on stage with her soon-to-be former co-star Michael Strahan, who allegedly made plans to leave the show without telling her. "I'm going to be completely honest. I'm fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message," Ripa said. "I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts" after spending 26 years with ABC, adding, "I earned the right."
One of Ripa's primary concerns, according to reporting from the New York Times, was that ABC had started to prioritize Good Morning America, which Strahan is joining, over Live! Ripa said that her extended absence was part of a "much greater conversation" about respect in the workplace, and noted that "apologies have been made, and the best thing to come out of all of this, you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live! is a priority." She threw in some congratulations for Strahan before starting the show, pausing briefly to note, "My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we're all crazy, and I think he's right."
Strahan, for his part, called Ripa the "queen of morning television" and promised "if you need me, I'm coming back to help out." But it seems Kelly Ripa needs no help at all.