Michael Strahan shocked America on Tuesday by announcing he would be leaving Live With Kelly and Michael for a full-time position on Good Morning America!
And apparently, Kelly Ripa was just as surprised — because her costar of four years dropped the bomb on her right after Tuesday's show!
Production sources told TMZ that the former NFL star sat down with Ripa and exec producer Michael Gelman at 10:30 a.m. EST to let them know he was parting ways with them for another morning talk show!
According to the source, Kelly and Gelman were "stunned and upset" by the news — because no one on the show had ANY clue Strahan was about to switch teams!
RANK: Who Should Replace Michael On Live?!
Though it doesn't sound like the secrecy is the former New York Giants player's fault, as the stealthy move was orchestrated by Disney CEO Bob Iger — who reportedly already has a replacement plan to fill the seat next to Kelly.
One source told ET that the perky blonde's close friend Anderson Cooper is a frontrunner to fill in — though the silver fox might need CNN's permission to do the show.
Another strongly rumored candidate is award-winning host Neil Patrick Harris, who might just be ready to settle down for a steady TV gig. The source said:
"Producers loved Neil Patrick Harris when they were looking before. He was a frontrunner, and he has less going on now than he did three years ago during the search that ended with Michael getting the gig."
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As for WHY Strahan is leaving Live, sources say GMA offered him a more fulfilling role — allowing him to become a co-anchor and "tell stories, connect with people" more.
Aside from "losing interest" in Live, sources say that tension was beginning to brew between Kelly and Michael, adding:
"Michael and Kelly have not been getting along recently. They got along great in the beginning — but not so much lately."
We KNEW we smelled some behind-the-scenes drama!
Even though it was sudden, it sounds like this shift just might be in everyone's best interest after all.
Now the only question is — how can we ever decide between NPH and Anderson?!
[Image via ABC.]
Tags: anderson cooper, bob iger, cnn, controversy, disney, good morning america, kelly ripa, live with kelly and michael, michael gelman, michael strahan, neil patrick harris, tv news