Michael Strahan to step down from Live! on May 14, as Kelly Ripa returns
By Charlotte Triggs/People
This article was originally published on People on April 26, 2016.
Michael Strahan will be stepping down from his role as co-host of Live! early, PEOPLE has learned exclusively.
"May 14 is his last show," a source tells PEOPLE. "He'll take the summer off and GMA can integrate him early before September, and this will give Live! more time to find the co-host. He's totally fine that. Now he can enjoy his summer."
The source confirms that ABC executives apologized to Strahan, 44, for putting him in a difficult position, after announcing his departure last week, Ripa called out of work on Wednesday, leading to a tense, weeklong standoff, before she returned to work this morning, joking that the "long national nightmare is over."
"They admitted that they handled it wrong and put him in a terrible position," the source says. "The network decided and the show decided that they wanted more time to find the cohost. He's fine either way."
The source adds that "this is not about feeling awkward with Kelly. He was willing to stay until the fall, but the network is saying this gives them more time to find the co-host. He's a team player. He will do what they ask."
As for Ripa's highly anticipated return, Strahan had not spoken to her beforehand, the source reveals, adding that the two had only texted "cordially" over the weekend after she announced she would return.
"He had no idea how she was going to address it. They didn't talk about it beforehand but he respected that it was her thing to do, however she wanted to do it," says the source.
"The vibe between them is all business. It remained tense," the source reveals. "Nobody knew what was going to happen. Nobody shared with Michael what she was going to do. But he just went there to do his show and be professional."
Strahan knew he would be stepping down early before going on air this morning, the source reveals.
"He knew he would be wrapping up early, he just didn't know exactly when," says the source, adding that he didn't speak with Ripa, 45, after the show, and discussed the exact timing with the network then.
"He's leaving for another show. He's not losing his job," says the source. "So for him it's fine."
A source close to Ripa calls the parting "amicable."
Live! With Kelly and Michael airs weekdays (check local listings).