You may have been following the Kelly and Michael saga. Yes, Kelly found out that Michael Strahan, her co-host for the past four years, is leaving to work for GMA full time. She found out in the 11th hour and felt blindsided to say the leas
What was shocking was her reaction. She left the studio upset and did not return to work the next day. This became a major news story and caused ABC executives to get nervous. In their mind, the networks reputation was getting damaged – they looked like bad guys breaking up a happy home. Now, this is important because ABC battles the other big networks on a daily basis for viewers and this does not help.
It’s rumored, they offered Strahan a deal he could not resist but swore him to secrecy. By definition that meant Kelly Ripa was kept in the dark. From Kelly’s perspective, she’s been an employee of ABC for 26 years and a major co-host for “Live.” She deserved to know their plans. Instead, ahe was left wondering if this move meant she was not trusted or that her show had a limited future.
This column is not about ABC or Kelly’s response. It’s about Michael’s decision.
I’ve watched many of the entertainment shows and talk shows since this story hit the airwaves to see their reaction. Andy Cohen, host of “Watch What Happens Live,” and Wendy Williams, host of her own show, both mentioned Strahan’s decision to leave was not smart.
Now, he’s one of two hosts and his name is part of the show’s title. But he’s moving to GMA, which has countless hosts. A contributor from CNN appeared on Access Hollywood to explain that ABC must have offered Strahan the world. They are focused on preparing for the future and know George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will not always be there.
They’ve noticed how popular Strahan has become and they want to leverage that opportunity. Now, I thought about this and I think Strahan made a great move and took a smart risk. Yep, he could remain as co-host of “Live…” and take home a great paycheck for years to come or he could shake things up and become a true star.
Let me break this down for you…
“Live…” is a great show but it’s predictable, vanilla and at some point will become forgettable. As the co-host, Strahan is limited to a short scripted conversation at the top of the show followed by celebrity interviews. A few times a year, he gets a chance to let his hair down, but most of the time, everything is scripted and simple. Plus, he shares the show with another person.
I think of Regis Philbin and his long career as a co-host of “Live..” and Kathie Lee, are they household names? No. Did they ever do anything really unique or big as talk show hosts? No. Regis is now retired and makes guest appearances on other shows from time to time; Kathie Lee is a co-host of another show and that’s about all.
Let’s go back to Andy Cohen and Wendy Williams. Of course they see “Live…” as a cushy job; they both began their careers interviewing celebrities. They both eventually, created their own brand, but they still interview celebrities.
My point is that Strahan, at least in my head, wants something bigger. He’s extremely relevant right now and has a chance to capitalize on that position in the marketplace. This is his chance to create a career that he owns that leads to all types of opportunities. Movies, sitcoms, his own show, whatever he wants. He could become the Oprah of his time. But, this comes with risk. Even so, if he negotiated a great deal with ABC, he’s protected.
I’m sure he’s going nuts right now, and wondering if he made the right decision. Michael, trust your gut and your journey. Do not get distracted by the attention or the scandal. Instead, stay headstrong and focused on the career you want. You may be destined for life that’s bigger than a talk show, bigger than interviewing others. Whatever it is, go for it and enjoy the journey.
Two people who took major risks and it paid off come to mind. Oprah Winfrey could have retired and just enjoyed the fruit of her labor after her successful talk show ended. Instead, she reinvented herself into a media mogul Although she experienced a lot of bumps in the road, look at her now.
A second example is our dearly departed Prince, wow. On the day he passed, we saw an outpouring of what Prince meant to folks all over social media and TV. He struggled, he fought for his rights and he continued to live his purpose on his terms.
Do you! Stay true to your purpose and trust your journey
Marquesa Ladawn is a professional businesswoman who escapes the pressures of living in New York City by retreating into the real world of reality TV. Follow her on twitter @realityshowgirl, Periscope and subscribe to her podcast at www.RealitytvGirl.com.
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