Michael Strahan has made a name for himself on TV, but it was a rocky road to get there.
In a new interview with The New York Times, the “Good Morning America”, “Strahan, Sara and Keke” and “$100,000 Pyramid” host opened up about his time as co-hosts of “Live! With Kelly and Michael” and his abrupt exit in 2016.
“In sports, you can put as many great players as you want on a team, but if one guy out there is worried about himself, it will not work,” he said. “Then on television, I’ve had jobs where I got there and felt like: Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner.”
Asked if he thought his departure was handled sloppily, Strahan agreed, “It could have been handled better.”
He went on to explain, “I didn’t wake up and say, ‘I want a job at ‘GMA’ I was asked to do it by the people who run the network. It was really not a choice. It was a request. But it was treated as if I was the guy who walked in and said, ‘I’m leaving.’ That part was totally misconstrued, mishandled in every way. People who should have handled it better have all apologized, but a lot of the damage had already been done. For me, it was like: Move on. Success is the best thing. Just keep on moving.”
The 48-year-old former NFL player also talked about his relationship with co-host Kelly Ripa, and whether he brought up his issues with her.
“One thing I tried to do is have a meeting every few weeks with her. We met a few times, and that was fine,” he recalled. “But then eventually she said she didn’t need to meet.”
Strahan added, “Can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to do.”
Ripa hosted the show solo until 2017 when Ryan Seacrest was brought in as a co-host for the renamed “Live! With Kelly and Ryan”.
Of course, the show all stems from the original morning show which starred Regis Philbin as host from 1988 to 2011 and Kathie Lee Gifford as co-host from 1988 to 2000. Ripa joined Philbin as a co-host from 2001 to 2011 when Philbin retired.