Kelly Ripa: Michael Strahan exiting early so host search can begin

Jayme Deerwester

On the eve of Michael Strahan's last episode of Live With Kelly and Michael on Friday, Kelly Ripa told People that her co-host's early departure is necessary to find a replacement by fall.

Michael Strahan's last day on 'Live!' is Friday.

Disney and ABC originally planned for Strahan to move to Good Morning America in September. But once Ripa got over her anger about being left in the dark and came to grips with the fact that he was leaving, she told the network it was in everyone's best interest to move up the timeline.

Michael Strahan leaving 'Live!' May 13

"Guys, we need to start looking," she told her bosses, "because we have summer hiatus, we have vacation time.  We need to find people. If we're going to have this list narrowed down at least to a manageable size by the fall, we need to start now."

The parade of guest hosts begins Monday with Jimmy Kimmel. Fred Savage, Seal and Andy Cohen are scheduled to step in as guest co-hosts in the coming weeks.

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