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Should I stay comfortable? Michael, Kelly, ABC, you… let’s talk!
You may have been following the Kelly and Michael saga that’s been national news since last week. 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 least. I imagine we can all relate to being in this situation at one time or another. 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 is 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 silence which meant Kelly Ripa was in the dark. Now, from Kelly’s perspective, she’s been an employee of ABC for 26 years and a major co-host for “Live..” for the majority of that time, she deserved to know their plans. She was left wondering if this move meant she was not trusted or that her show had a limited future; She could have come to work the next day but a big part of her brand is being authentic, so she stayed away until she calmed down. Can you imagine her going on air the next day angry and saying something she could not take back?
Now, my article here 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 air waves 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. He’s one of two hosts, his name is in the show’s title, it’s a great job, what are you doing? Then you are moving to GMA which has countless host, really? A contributor from CNN appeared on Access Hollywood and provided an interesting take on this situation; ABC must have offered Strahan the world, they are focused on preparing for the future of ABC; they know Stephanopoulos and Roberts will not always be there and they must remain competitive.
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, 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 which 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; that being said, if he negotiated a great deal with ABC, he’s protected any way.
I think of my own career, I got downsized back in 2004 and had a chance to take another job in the company or another job at different company. But, after thinking about what I really wanted, I decided to give my dream a shot. My dream of being a motivational speaker and game changer. I had no script and a lot of debt. I also did not have a safety net, it was just me living in NYC with a dream;
I also was in my mid 30’s and ready for marriage and a family; I was accustomed to earning six figures, would I risk it all and struggle to make it in a new world. This decision was so overwhelming, I got depressed, really depressed, which led to a panic attack.
Then one day, while taking a shower, I decided to give my dream a shot, I did not want to look back someday and wonder, what if? I also reminded myself that moving to NYC right out of college not knowing a soul was the first step in making my dream come true, why stop now?
I also thought about what I had done for the last 10 years, do I see myself doing this for the rest of my life? Or, do I see something different? About 5 years into my 10 year corporate journey, I got a taste of what being a motivational speaker would be like. I spoke all over my company, I also served as an emcee for a major conference. In addition, I studied speaking and committed to being the best that I could be.
Fast forward, I’m now downsized, what do I do? Well, the love part wasn’t going to happen for a while, wrong guy! Then, my speaking took off and opportunities found me. Now, I can say, 11 years later, I’ve spoken all over the world to countless audiences and so many of my dreams have come true! Now, this hasn’t been without struggle or fear, but I can’t imagine life without living my purpose!
Back to Strahan, 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.
I will close this heartfelt article by mentioning two people that took major risks and it paid off! 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. Her life is but a dream, she had to believe in herself first!
Our dearly departed Prince, wow, talk about IMPACT; 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!
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