How Kelly Ripa Really Feels About Michael Strahan Leaving Live!

A source connected to the search for Ripa's next co-host told ET that Live! is looking for a more ethnically diverse replacement for Strahan, despite Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris' names being thrown around as contenders.

That is how we're envisioning Kelly Ripa's parting words to Live! co-host Michael Strahan on May 13th, when he leaves the show after four years for a new gig at Good Morning America.

"I think what people need to understand about the entire situation is that I didn't just not show up", she says.

She presented him with a scrapbook and said no matter where he goes, Strahan will always be part of the "Live" family.

The issue, Ripa says, was that she wasn't given much of a heads-up before the announcement was made. I don't think of anybody as a monster or out to get me.

After refusing a napkin, the five-time Daytime Emmy victor cracked: 'I want to take him into contract negotiations with me!' I think it is a really ideal match, I really do.

"I am fine, but I need assurances that we're all going to be fine", she told the publication.

"If she's serious about it, she can push to make something like that happen", a concerned "Live!" staffer told the Daily News. It's easy to just look at it like a business unit.

Live! With Kelly and Michael is already making changes, and Michael Strahan hasn't even left yet. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right-and let's be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other. After speaking with Ripa and Strahan, ABC did a 180 and said he would leave "Live" on May 13 instead of sticking around through the summer. In the interview, she describes the Live!

She, of course, is talking about filling the soon-to-be empty seat beside her once Strahan departs this Friday.

Some of the guest hosts aren't really in contention for the job, like ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who will join Ripa on Monday, or ABC News anchor David Muir, who will join on Thursday. "If we're going to have this list narrowed down at least to a manageable size by the fall, we need to start now, '" Ripa said. Executives earned her ire by maneuvering behind her back to shift Strahan to "GMA". The actor/singer/dancer can do it all, but after hosting his own (shortlived) prime time variety show on NBC, the Tonys and starring on Broadway (he won a Tony as Best Actor in a Musical in 2014), you wonder, could he handle "Live's" early morning schedule?

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