Michael Strahan Leaving Live! With Kelly & Michael After Less Than 4 Years: Time to Accept It's the End of an Era for Talk Shows

As the former football great moves on to earlier pastures at GMA, we shouldn't be that surprised that he didn't stick around for a record run

By Natalie Finn Apr 19, 2016 8:00 PMTags
Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, LIVE with Kelly and MichaelABC

Was anyone else a little gobsmacked by the news that Michael Strahan is leaving his co-host's chair at Live! With Kelly and Michael, surely one of the most coveted jobs in morning talk shows? If not all talk shows? Or morning shows? If not all of TV?

Perhaps we're shocked because of the involved process that went into choosing Strahan as…well, not quite Regis Philbin's replacement, because really he was Kelly Ripa's replacement as she became the Regis, with the parade of guest hosts and the big announcement four short years ago. The whole process is still fresh in our minds!

Or more likely we're shocked because Kelly just celebrated 15 years on the ABC morning staple, and Regis, who left in 2011, did the Live! job for 23 years. So…four years just seems so…

Not historic.

Live with Kelly and Michael

As far as anyone watching could tell, Michael and Kelly got along famously, their jovial chemistry and the NFL Hall of Famer's infectious appeal prompting an immediate surge in the ratings when he was announced as a permanent co-host on Sept. 4, 2012.

But he balanced Live! with a number of other ABC News gigs, including occasional appearances on the network's flagship morning show, Good Morning America, and today the 44-year-old with the best gap in showbiz let it be known he'd be joining GMA full-time.

So it's not as if he's going far, and he'll probably still be on TV for the next 40 years, but…

Is it the end of an era? Or, in more optimistic-speak, the beginning of a new era?

Regis' retirement (he also didn't go far, we just saw him on TV yesterday)in 2011 was particularly momentous for so many of all ages, his regular presence on the small screen preceding not only our birth but our interest in morning TV. One day he was just…there. And there he remained until we were grownups. (In age, at least.)

And last year was really rough, as both David Letterman and Jon Stewart left their posts after respectively epic runs, the Late Show host after 22 years (and that was just on CBS) and The Daily Show host after 16.

Excuse us while we take a moment (to Google "Letterman beard")...

But maybe Strahan's seemingly premature exit from a plum post is just the new normal.

It is so hard to keep audience's attention these days that perhaps the inclination to bounce around has extended to the talent.


Does anyone watch The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and get the comforting, no-need-to-expect-change-anytime-soon feeling that Stephen Colbert is going to do that for 22 years? With Jon Batiste and Stay Human by his side? Or does Trevor Noah seem in it for another 16-year haul over at Comedy Central?

Comedy Central

It's difficult to imagine another run like the ones that have come before will pan out with new people as tenures such as Matt Lauer (co-host since 1997) and Al Roker's (he joined the team, first as a substitute anchor, in 1990!) at Today become increasingly rare.

And don't you guys ever leave us, OK? Thank you.


Not to mention Barbara Walters' iconic 17-year run on The View or Kelly Ripa's 15-years-and-counting run at Live!, which always seemed like its own prize and not like a stepping-stone to GMA

Such is the fast-paced world of looking for the next fulfilling thing, though, as all the shows—the classics and the newbies—compete in a world where the early mornings and the late evenings are the few times when people are actually making a point of watching television on a TV set. And even then, not really. Late night is more than ever a race to go viral, with Jimmy Fallon's lip sync battles and James Corden's "Car Pool Karaoke" far more likely to be consumed in the morning on phones via Facebook shares.

Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Meanwhile, don't even get us started on daytime talk shows, where proven super-stars such as Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira couldn't quite figure out how to make that format work for the long haul.

So, let's enjoy the given talent on any given show for as long as we have it, because who knows when that person you love to watch every morning at 9 a.m. moves on to a different gig that may or may not work with your wake-up/commute/work/free time/bedtime/cable-plan/data plan-dictated schedule.

P.S. Dear Ellen DeGeneres, you're never allowed to retire either. Thank you.

(E! Online is a member of the NBCUniversal family.)