Michael Strahan appeared for his last day as cohost of “Live with Kelly and Michael” on Friday.
Both he and cohost Kelly Ripa were in good spirits. She opened the show with a joke: “Don’t take this as a bad sign, it’s Friday the 13th.”
She later added, “It is your final day on the show. We all came to celebrate you. We want to remind the audience that there is a run on discounted merchandise, collector’s items.”
Strahan called the day “bittersweet.”
“It’s a great day, though. It’s bittersweet. Of course, you get nervous like this. I’ve done this for four years. So this is a moment that I didn’t anticipate being here at this point. But it’s here and we’re going to enjoy it. I’m not dying!”
Strahan, who is leaving “Live” for a full-time job at ABC’s “Good Morning America,” added, “I’m still with the family and I’m still available to come back if I’m ever called to cohost. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not gone.”
Ripa then joked that Strahan could fill in for her when she goes on vacation in two weeks. To which he replied, “I don’t know about that. Too soon?”
The two resolved to treat the rest of the morning opening like any other day, but later they both had some parting words. Later in the hour, a retrospective of Strahan’s time was played, which ended with: “Farewell. Good luck. Keep smiling.”
Ripa then presented Strahan with gifts, and joked, “Now, to the boot.” She then told him that she was very proud of him and that he had given her and the crew “so much joy.”
“I just want to say thank you to everybody,” an emotional Strahan responded. “It’s amazing, you come here and you guys have let me into your homes for the last four years, everyday. And I didn’t know what to expect, coming from sports to daytime television, and you guys opened up your hearts to me and opened up your homes to me. And it has been so overwhelming the last four years that you guys have loved this show.”
Strahan is leaving earlier than his original scheduled exit over the summer after Ripa became angered that she was informed of the change just moments before it went public.
In the coming months, Ripa will cohost with dozens of people, essentially auditioning for Strahan’s vacated seat in front of a live audience. This is exactly what the show did in 2012, when Strahan was chosen to replace the retired Regis Philbin.
The former NFL player and ESPN contributor is being brought over to help “GMA” in the ratings war with NBC’s “Today.” While “GMA” has more total viewers, NBC’s morning show wins with the target audience of 25- to 54-year-old viewers.