Fire Kelly Ripa


On Tuesday of this week, ABC announced that Michael Strahan, the former NFL player who successfully replaced old pro Regis Philbin on the evolving franchise that was once “Regis and Kathy Lee,” was being promoted to the flagship of ABC’s morning lineup, and would leave “Live: Kelly and Michael” in September to become a co-anchor on “Good Morning America.”

For whatever reason, ABC botched the maneuver, failing to let Strahan’s co-host, Kelly Ripa, know about the change until it was announced publicly.

Ripa was angry and insulted, as well as stunned to lose her partner of four years without warning or the courtesy of an explanation. She decided to show her displeasure by skipping work, which is a non-no for a live TV show.  She called in “sick”  before the  Wednesday’s edition of “Live,” and is apparently on a mini-strike for the rest of the week at least. Some sources say that she will refuse to return to her eponymous show until Strahan, whom she now regards as a betrayer, moves on.

ABC pays Ripa a reported $20 million per year, $36,000.00 per episode, and $818.00 per minute of airtime to charmingly babble away an hour of the mid-morning, seldom uttering a memorable thought or witticism. She should fall down on her knees and worship at ABC’s executives’ feet for this boon. They own her, and they don’t really ask much: all she has to do is keep her mentally squishy audience happy, do what she’s told, and show up….and cash a lot of checks. Yes, ABC was tardy in telling her that she was going to have to find a new co-host. Bad ABC. That does not excuse or justify Ripa’s unprofessional breach of her employment contract.

These types of show business episodes illustrate the madness of the rationalization called The King’s Pass or the Star Syndrome. Employees with unique talents or perceived high value too often avoid the proper consequences of their clearly wrongful conduct. If Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe had been fired the first time they showed up late, unprepared or drunk on a set, they both might have lived to see their senior years. ABC is in a perfect situation to make a memorable statement to all of its other highly-paid talents, and save itself and other businesses the grief of  enduring tantrums like Ripa’s. That statement would be to fire her.

The only reason Ripa dared to pull this stunt is that she assumes that her 20 million dollar contract is safe. She is right, but she shouldn’t be; her unprofessional conduct is inexcusable, and she should pay the full price for it. ABC would be wise to follow the example of the BBC a year ago, which fired the star of its hit show “Top Gear,” Jeremy Clarkson, for abusing other employees.

Almost no one is indispensable, and the few that are tend to be the ones who don’t act as if they are indispensable. Petulant, privileged misconduct like Ripa’s ought to get anyone fired. Twenty million dollars should be able to at least guarantee an employer that the recipient will show up for work.


Sources: Mercury News, Mediaite

35 thoughts on “Fire Kelly Ripa

  1. Yuck. I hate situations like this, where the employer should properly take action and would have every right to take action, but has to take pause. Although no one is indispensable, there are a lot of people who dispensing with will have consequences for the dispenser. ABC has to weigh the question of what will happen in terms of ratings, market share, etc., if it sacks Kelly. As you said, her audience is mentally squishy, and just wants to hear her babble for about 42 minutes while they go about their morning routine. Now she’s not there and they are deprived of one of their favorite things. ABC, for the moment, is saying she’s “on vacation.” However, the way to counter her little snit is to have someone new ready to go on command, and thereby be in a position to deliver an ultimatum – be back at your desk on Monday, and we’ll say no more about this, but continue to play this game and you’re gone.

    The thing with high value people is that high value doesn’t always stay high forever, in fact it can deteriorate very quickly (that goes triple for kid stars). Eventually leading men pass what would be retirement age for action characters in the real world and are no longer believable, and eventually leading ladies reach the age where they can’t carry a rom-com anymore and lose out to the upcoming crowd of 20something hotties. “Perky” morning show hosts are just as vulnerable to age as rom-com queens.

    Just for the record I can’t stand divas. I had the misfortune of knowing a few young women who wanted to become the next Charlotte Church or the next Jackie Evancho. Most thought that a few concerts in local churches to audiences of less than 100 and a cheaply produced CD or two put them in the same league and gave them the right to act snotty, rude, demanding, and temperamental, then to turn bitter when they reached college, tried to compete with other trained singers in front of legitimate music teachers, and failed. Being high-value and trading on it is one thing, acting high-value when you aren’t is another.

    • I have been in these showdowns at a lower level, in regional theater. I once had the established star of a show, mid-run, throw a fit because the young romantic lead was upstaging him (he said), and he threatened to quit because he “obviously” wasn’t needed. I just called his bluff, told him that I expected him at the next show, and didn’t want to hear another word about the issue, and would have a replacement in the wings if case he wasn’t ready to perform to my standards. To say he was shocked was an understatement.

      Never heard a peep from him again.
      This did seem to end our long-standing friendship, however.

      • Charlotte pulled that crap with the now-forgotten Royal Christmas tour in 2002, wanting to pullout because of boyfriend issues, and Princeton Entertainment had to threaten to sue to get her to fulfill her obligation. She could do it only because the classical crossover bench was thin as yet. A year later the bench got deep, glamorous crossover sopranos were a dime a dozen, and Charlotte, no longer the big fish in the small pond, departed the crossover scene altogether for pop, from whence she faded into obscurity.

        Kudos to you for not being afraid to bruise an overbloated ego that needed a thump with a mace, maybe even a Morningstar.

      • Good for you!

        I had a similar’ish instance; I was letting a diva SOB actor walk out the door permanently 3 weeks into rehearsals and was in the process of picking the replacement from the cast but the producer intercepted the actor. I told the producer the actor was arsenic to the cast, I was right; I believe that actor is now on the unwritten never to be cast again list. You don’t need uncooperative egos like that poisoning the cast in a high quality Community Theater group.

        Have you ever had the “pleasure” of escorting a stage-mom from back stage and outright banning her from back stage; that’s always a fun experience. I’ve run into two of those.

  2. So a former soap-opera actress gets $20 million for WHAT? She is an entirely fungible quantity… as are most of the talk show hosts and news readers on the major networks. How do they get these jobs anyway? Except for the obvious…

    Major league baseball players make that much and more are traded to other teams all the time and have to bite the bullet to keep their enormous salaries. The big difference is that these guys have unique and amazing skills (well, almost unique… say .5% of the male population may have them).

    Ripa should be fired. With cause. One would think that part of her contract requires that she simply show up for work… not having a little Kardashian hissy-fit to demonstrate her upset, lack of professionalism, and general unfitness to do what is a stupid job anyway.

  3. “Twenty million dollars should be able to at least guarantee an employer that the recipient will show up for work.”

    …and act like a grown up. Put on your big girl panties and leave your attitude in your dressing room.

  4. I do not watch the show. If it is on, say in a waiting room somewhere I happen to be sitting, then I’ll take a glance. I say fire her. Most of us remember how ABC had trial performances or sit-ins, that worked the show a few days and then they’d have a new woman for another few days. This lasted a month or two. One of the women I did like is now an anchor for ABC. She was classy and seemed to have a mind. I thought Kelly was a good match with Regis, who I don’t particularly like, yet, back then, it was pretty good and they balanced each other out. Also, Kelly wasn’t a STAR yet, so she was classier than usual. ABC should take this opportunity to change-up the show and get new blood in there.
    We will live through this. We lived through Delta Burke’s fight with the network because her contract said “don’t get fat.” Her character actually got funnier (coincidence) because of the weight gain. The writers could no longer focus on her character’s beauty. We lived through Farrah’s fight with a network (I believe ABC) but she breached her contract, yet she was the “famous” Angel.

    I’m sure William Morris has just the right girl waiting to take Kelly’s seat. Next!

    • wade756:

      You wrote, “We will live through this.” Really? Are you serious?

      I have been a nervous wreck this entire week as a result of Kelly’s absence. And now people want to fire her? Please! I can’t take that! My morning mood depends on the witty reparte she is known for. My God, what am I to do now that I don’t have Kelly’s insights? Please! Someone tell her to come back.

      On a serious note, ABC should give her the ultimatum – “Take all the time you need to recuperate. Your services at ABC is no longer necessary. We found a replacement. He’s an attorney, living in Houston, and he will work for 1/10 the price. In these times of woe and want, we have to look out for our bottom line.”


  5. Well, everyone is saying it is a planned vacation. Maybe it is. As for calling in sick, it might have been a mental health day. I need about 1-2 of those a year, and I think my partner of 4 years and my long-term employer not telling me something so vitally important might cause me to take one of those few allotted sick days. It was unprofessional, no question, but it would also be unprofessional for her to start crying on live TV if she hadn’t been able to process it yet.

    • Yeah, what I don’t get, is if they were as close as pictures make them appear, and close enough that she felt blindsided by this, how in the world did he (Strahan) not discuss this with her in advance? She, not doubt, was unprofessional with her actions, and while she did have a scheduled vacay, I’d like to know how early she left for it as a result of this news (a day…yeah, it’s a mental health day. 4 days? It’s a fireable offense).

      But, really, what was the rationale of ABC AND Strahan keeping her in the dark? (Maybe, knowing her the way they do, they saw behavior like this coming…?)

      • I am not sure. Contract negotiations are always kept confidential. If a deal to move to a prime spot on network hadn’t worked out and Strahan stayed where he was, then it would have made no sense to let the entire world know about the proposed changes.

        Strahan moved up the ladder, leaving Ripa behind. ABC may have handled this poorly, but it doesn’t justify Ripa’s tantrum. ABC could/should have considered the ratings game to make a smoother transition, keeping Ripa in the loop about a replacement co-host. Perhaps RIpa is also angry that she is not moving up the ladder but is stuck in a one-hour meaningless show (for which she is paid quite handsomely, I might add).


    • I agree with everything you say. The difference is that you aren’t (I presume) being paid $20 million a year. Maybe it’s crass to assign levels of accountability based on payroll, but when the pay is this high, I can’t help feeling this way when the money is this high, as in more in a year than I will make in my entire lifetime.

      • I think the amount of money she makes is irrelevant. You agreed to do a job, you do it. I remember I ran into a friend of mine years ago on what was a pre-planned vacation for both of us. He was mildly perturbed about the emails and calls he was getting from work. He said something to the effect of, now, if I were making x dollars per year, I’d jump on a plane, fly back home, and do whatever they want. Unbeknownst to him, I was making x dollars a year at the time. All I could think, and not say, was, no, no you wouldn’t.

        Her ethical obligations remain the same regardless of how much money she’s making.

  6. For the sake of moving on, and presuming Ripa will be let go, I nominate another Kelly – Megyn Kelly – for the next morning yacker on ABC. I wonder if Fox News is feeling any fear about her potential for departure. They sure would be miscalculating, if they think a “JV” like Jesse Watters could take over and win in her time slot. Nah, they’ll find another blonde…I can picture her; she’s on O’Reilly frequently…just can’t remember her name.
    (no slight intended to our own Mr. Burger – but I don’t know if he’s blonde)

  7. She’s gone…..she is totally boring and a poser… evidently and unsurprisingly a sulker…and getting paid BIG $$$’s for sukling anddoing damage to a show and its employees..of which she is one….get her out of there…NOW…..and go embarrass your teenage son somewhere else…!!!

  8. ABC is probably tired of her Diva attituds. The type of people that expects the world to fall at their smelly bunion toed feet. That was unprofessional behavior. If I pulled that at my job, I’d be out in a flash!

  9. I used to watch this show before Kelly R came on. I watched it a few times and can not stand her “I am the best ” attitude. If they got rid of her I would probably watch it again. Stop letting her run the show and act like a producer,

  10. Does Kelly realize that in married monied families….the woman will leave the main breadwinner but the man stays with the top bread winner. She has no education, two failed an overage soap star…….if she wants to keep her husband and her way of life……be quiet ….this is her last high paying job…and I bet her contract will not be renewed.

      • On Fridays show Kelly was enforcing the fact that she has absolutely no idea how divorce is a part of life but Michael has…..reminiscent of Kathy Lee always talking about her great married life and then Wham!….Karmas a bitch and in Kelly’s case….once the money goes…perhaps so goes the man!

  11. Let’s shake up “Live” and and get some fresh new blood in there, now that Stray is leaving. I was never impressed with Kelly Ripa… I think Michael saved the show, or at least enhanced it and Kelly should be grateful for what he brought to the show. That’s why GMA wants him and not HER!

  12. Kelly Ripa is without a doubt the most self absorbed celebrity I have ever heard on TV . She never stops talking about herself and her kids and her husband. We don’t care! Kelly Ripa, with all the negative posts about you one would think you would stop but it just goes to show you you don’t care all you care about is your 20 million dollar checks and ripping Michael Strahan so low . You don’t belong in this business. Go away please, we beg you .

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