Sources connected with “Live” revealed to TMZ Sports that Ripa and the show’s executive producer Michael Gelaman had no knowledge of Strahan’s exit until he sat down with them at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and let them know he was leaving “Live” for “Good Morning America.”
Strahan, who split his time between working at the two morning shows for the past two years, is now gearing up to work full-time at “GMA” after exiting “Live” over the summer.
Upon receiving the news from Strahan, Ripa and Gelman were “stunned and upset.” In light of no one at “Live” receiving advance warning, there is no plan set in place to replace the former NFL standout.
While it’s easy to focus on Strahan, TMZ Sports mentioned that his exit was a top-secret action that was orchestrated by Disney CEO Bob Iger.
“Sources connected to the deal tell us Gelman might not be aware of the replacement plan, but Disney absolutely has one … and it assured Strahan of that,” the site stated, adding that “’GMA’ absolutely ‘had to have’ Strahan. So much so that “GMA’s” intent to pay a fortune to get Strahan off ‘Live’ came about because Iger wanted it to happen.
As for the reason for Iger’s involvement, TMZ Sports noted folks that told them that ABC “is paying very, very handsomely … as in well into 8 figures.”
With the Strahan’s full-time arrival to “GMA” comes word that the show will be “reformatted in September” to play to Strahan’s strengths as well as prevent the “Today” show from taking the lead in the ratings. Although the change is a major shakeup for “Live,” it will be business as usual at “GMA,” with George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts remaining untouched In ABC’s eyes, Strahan, Roberts and Stephanopoulos are the “three musketeers.”