“Our long national nightmare is over.”
So joked Kelly Ripa as she took the stage hand-in-hand with co-host Michael Strahan after last week’s brouhaha over Strahan unexpectedly leaving Live With Kelly and Michael — and not telling Kelly personally — for Good Morning America. Tuesday marked Ripa’s official return to the show after an eventful seven days, and the ever candid morning show host deftly managed to dispel any tension in the room while also not letting Kelly and Michael producers off the hook for keeping her out of the loop.
"Look, I am fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message,” she teased, before getting serious. “I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I really — I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company, I earned the right, and let's be honest — I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other."
“What transpired though over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace. And since we're being honest, I don't consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place that I've devoted myself to not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all of the producers and the crew who work on this show. We have an incredible team."
Ripa also revealed that ABC is committed to moving forward with Live. "We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family," she continued. "Apologies have been made, and the best thing to come out of all of this, you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority."
She also took a moment to congratulate her co-host. "I am thrilled for Michael, this is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn't be and we couldn't be more prouder of you and everything we've accomplished together," she said.
Then, in typical Kelly Ripa fashion, she tossed off a perfectly timed joke and got back to business: "My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we're all crazy."
Check out the whole segment below, then hit the comments with your thoughts. Do you think Kelly handled her return like a pro?