Kelly Ripa Drops 'Contract Negotiations' Zinger on Live; Exiting Michael Strahan Unamused?

Did a screaming, hairy armadillo just amble into the middle of reported tensions between Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan?

Toward the end of Thursday’s Live With Kelly and Michael, Mutual of Omaha’s Peter Gros brought out the mammal as part of an animal segment, noting its size and lack of teeth forces it to scare off predators by shrieking. “He’s about to scare me away!” chimed in Strahan, as the creature continued its noisy protests.

Seconds later, Ripa declared that “something just flew off of [the armadillo] and into my mouth.” When Gros asked if she’d like a napkin, Ripa exclaimed, “I want to take him into contract negotiations with me!” before breaking up with laughter.

“He always gets his way with a predator!” joked Gros, in response.

Strahan, for his part, didn’t even crack a smile, then scrunched up his nose as he and Ripa caught a whiff of the pungent beast. “He’s got a nice smell to him,” Strahan observed sarcastically.

Also smelling peculiar? Over the past two days, neither Strahan nor Ripa has uttered a word on air about Strahan’s significantly moved-up exit date.

Indeed, when ABC first announced on April 19 that Strahan would jump ship from Live to Good Morning America, it was reported that he would continue on with the former program through the end of summer. Shortly after the Tuesday, April 26 Live telecast, however, word surfaced that Strahan’s last appearance on the show would be May 13.

Ripa, blindsided by news of Strahan’s exit, called in sick on April 20, then took some previously scheduled vacation right after, only returning to the show on April 26, when she addressed the controversy head-on. “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right,” she said, adding, “What transpired over the course of a few days has been extraordinary, in the sense that it started a much larger conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly respect in the workplace. And since we’re being honest, I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home.”

Ripa at the time added she was “thrilled” for Strahan, and had been assured by ABC brass that “Live is a priority” — an important factor considering that Ripa was reportedly vexed by rumors that ABC was looking to add an extra hour to GMA, which would bump Live from its 9am perch on most ABC stations.

Strahan will continue to appear on GMA throughout the summer, where he has made regular appearances since 2014. He will also serve as host of ABC’s upcoming $100,000 Pyramid reboot (debuting Sunday, June 26 at 9/8c).

Additionally, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Seacrest is being eyed as a possible replacement for Strahan in the wake of the American Idol host re-upping with ABC to host four more years of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Did you catch ArmadilloGate on Live? Are you ready for Strahan to make the leap to GMA and for Ripa to move on with a new co-host? Sound off below!