Michael Strahan received a warm welcome on Good Morning America.
Two days after ABC announced that Strahan would be leaving Live! With Kelly and Michael this summer to appear on its morning news program full-time beginning this fall, Strahan joined Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer and George Stephanopoulos in-studio Thursday. Though multiple sources have told E! News that he and Kelly Ripa did not get along behind the scenes—and she was "livid" after being told of the shakeup—Strahan put on a big smile and spoke of her fondly.
"We cannot wait for you full-time," Stephanopoulos said. "Are you ready?"
"I'm ready. I need some tips on how to wake up early every day. That's going to be first and foremost, but it's like my second family here. I'm going to miss everybody at Live!," Strahan, 44, admitted. "I've been sitting next to Kelly every day and having a lot of fun on that show for the last four years. I'm very thankful for her—to her—because I learned so much from her."
Strahan said it was Ripa, 45, who showed him the ropes. "I was so new to all of this. If it weren't for her, if it weren't for [executive producer] Michael Gelman and the staff there that really boosted me up and made me look a lot better than I really am, I never would have had a chance to be here," he said. "But I'm grateful that I'm here. And we're on the same network. I'm just right over here a little bit earlier now, but we're the same team, same family, same network."
Spencer gave him some sleeping advice: "Get over it. You're going to be tired."
"Don't fight the tired," Strahan said.
"Own it. Love it," Spencer said. "It's part of life."
"I embrace it," Strahan said. "I'm excited to be here."
Amy Robach also congratulated Strahan via satellite.
While Strahan is publicly saying he considers Ripa to be like "family," she was blindsided by his exit. Strahan didn't choose to leave Live!, though. "He's not the boss," a source told E! News Wednesday. "He is an employee of the network." Regardless, Ripa skipped Wednesday's show and later flew to Turks and Caicos with her family. A rep for the show said Ripa was going on a "previously-scheduled vacation" and that Erin Andrews and Shay Mitchell would be filling in for her.