NJ native Ripa takes early vacation from ‘Live’ after Strahan announces move to ‘GMA’
New Jersey native Kelly Ripa, the longtime co-host of ABC's "Live," first with Regis Philbin and for the last four years with Michael Strahan, is getting an early start to a planned vacation this week, reportedly "outraged" over Strahan's announcement that he was leaving the show for a full-time position on the network's "Good Morning America."
People Magazine reported that Ripa was already expected to be absent from the program — formerly "Live with Regis and Kelly" before Ripa took top billing as the show became "Live with Kelly and Michael" in 2012 — on Friday of this week and Monday of next week, for an anniversary trip to Turks and Caicos with her husband, actor Mark Consuelos.
But Ripa did not show up for work on Wednesday morning, a day after she was told by network executives that Strahan would be departing "Live" this fall, a separate People report said. Strahan was present at that meeting, but a source told People that "it wasn't up to him to deliver any news." Another source said staffers "don't know yet when (Ripa will) be back," the report said. Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Ana Gasteyer filled in for her on Wednesday.
The New York Times reported that Ripa first expressed concerns about Strahan's role at "GMA" two years ago, when he began there as a part-time correspondent, and that Ripa's apprehensions played out on Tuesday. Another People report said ABC executives have been "fixated" for years on adding a third hour to "GMA" -- which could put the future of "Live" in jeopardy.
Ripa was born in Stratford in 1970 and graduated from Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees before attending Camden County College. Her parents still reside in Voorhees; her father, Joseph, currently serves as Camden County clerk. Neither he nor Kelly Ripa has addressed the "Live" shakeup thus far on social media.
Strahan, of course, has Jersey roots of his own: The Pro Football Hall of Famer called the Meadowlands home for his entire 15-year NFL career, making seven Pro Bowl rosters, four All-Pro teams, and winning a Super Bowl as a member of the New York Giants.
Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.