Kelly Ripa could lose her 'Live' timeslot in addition to her co-host

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Kelly Ripa is losing her Live with Kelly and Michael co-host Michael Strahan this summer. But will she also lose her show's prime 9 a.m. time slot at some point as well?

ABC News executives long have coveted a third hour for their morning franchise. And with profit margins in the syndication arena on the wane, many industry sources view ABC's move Tuesday to bring Strahan to Good Morning America full-time this fall as the beginning of a bigger play to expand GMA.

"We are committed to 'Live...', its fantastic production team, and to Kelly Ripa. We believe the show has a great future. End of story," said a Disney-ABC Television spokesperson in a statement to THR.

To be sure, the immediate priority for ABC News executives is to stanch GMA's recent ratings bleed. And executives believe the popular Strahan can improve the chemistry among the show's talent.

"The success of GMA is the No.1 priority of ABC News because it subsidizes the entire news division," says an ABC News veteran who asked not to be named. But to that end, a source at GMA predicts a third hour could bring in an additional $25 million to $50 million in revenue each year while adding little additional cost to the show's operating budget. ABC News already has brought in daytime veteran Hilary Estey McLoughlin to consult on The View, which was put into the news division's portfolio in 2014. The former head of Telepictures Productions, McLoughlin has copious experience in daytime including on The Rosie O'Donnell Show,The Tyra Banks Show and Anderson Cooper's daytime effort. She could be useful in strategizing a third hour of GMA.

See photos of Kelly and Michael together:

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Michael Strahan & Kelly Ripa
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Kelly Ripa could lose her 'Live' timeslot in addition to her co-host
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: TV personalities Michael Strahan (L) and Kelly Ripa attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 12: Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the ceremony honoring Kelly Ripa with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 12, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Michael Strahan as Luke Skywalker and Kelly Ripa as Princess Leia Organa attend the Hallowe'en photocall for Live! with Kelly and Michael on October 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Michael Strahan as Left Shark and Kelly Ripa as Katy Perry on the Super Bowl Halftime Show attend a photocall outside the Live! with Kelly and Michael Studios on October 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 12: Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa and Michael Gelman attend the ceremony honoring Kelly Ripa with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 12, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF15/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Hosts Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa pose for a photo at the 'Live With Kelly & Michael' Halloween Show at Live with Kelly And Michael Studio on October 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: Kelly Ripa (L) and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 CNN Heroes at the American Museum of Natural History on November 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: (L-R) Event host Anderson Cooper, and TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute at The American Museum of Natural History on November 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: (L-R) TV personality Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the Broadcasting And Cable 23rd Annual Hall Of Fame Awards dinner at The Waldorf Astoria on October 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -9/5/13 - Arsenio Hall and Jennifer Hudson are guests on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by David Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL - 8/1/13 - Bryan Cranston and Poppy Montgomery are guests on the syndicated talk show, 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Rob Tannenbaum/ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -7/12/13 - Kevin James is a guest on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Dave Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -7/11/13 - Salma Hayek is a guest on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Dave Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN,
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -7/9/13 - 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Dave Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -5/1/13 - 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -2/26/13 - Using chopsticks to arrange their smiles, Kelly and Michael try out the latest stress-relieving smile therapy, on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -1/25/12 - LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: 'Live With Kelly And Michael' hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the Kids' Night on Broadway 2013 press conference at August Wilson Theatre on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
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Read More: On 'GMA,' Michael Strahan Says He "Learned So Much From" Kelly Ripa

Such a move would bounce Live, which ABC renewed earlier this year through the 2019-20 season, to either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. on ABC-owned stations and in much of the country. (The show airs in some afternoon slots already. But some station groups have holes to fill in the afternoon this fall care of the impending end of The Fab Life.) How that would play with host Ripa, who is currently sitting out the show because she is upset over how the Strahan shift went down, is far from clear.

Executives at ABC News have long strategized how to expand GMA and have been envious of NBC's four hours a day of the Today show. It was a priority for Disney-ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood when he ran ABC News, but syndication contracts made it difficult to pull off. The closest the division got was an experimental afternoon iteration called Good Afternoon America. But the short-lived show, which was co-hosted by Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott, did not confer the critical seamless brand extension a third hour at 9 a.m.would.

Last year, GMA raked in $362 million in ad revenue, according to KantarMedia. It's why ABC News executives have been so concerned about the show's softening ratings. So far this season, GMA is down 18 percent among viewers 25-54 and 14 percent among women 25-54, morning TV's core audience. Publicly, ABC News executives point to the show's lead over Today among total viewers, but privately they admit concern and know they need to rebuild the program since the breakup of the core anchor team that snapped Today's 16-year morning news winning streak back in 2012.

Read More: Kelly Ripa Won't Return to 'Live' This Week, Erin Andrews to Fill in

Strahan, 44, is seen as filling the void left by Josh Elliott, who exited for NBC under a cloud in 2014, a few months after weather anchor Sam Champion departed for the Weather Channel. There is speculation that Strahan and Spencer could form the core anchor team in a third hour, though sources close to Strahan stress that no such discussions have taken place. ABC News sources also note the show could rotate anchors in and out of the third hour, much the way Today does.

Ripa's resentment has been simmering since ABC News executives poached Strahan for a part-time GMA gig in 2014. His tenure on Live has improved that show's ratings. And he has the ability to engage in the kind of easy banter that made the anchor team of George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Spencer, Elliott and Champion so winning. Ripa, who was told by Strahan of his exit only minutes before news broke publicly Tuesday, did not show up for work the next day and will be off Live until at least Tuesday, ABC announced yesterday.

Media observers note how Ripa handles the Strahan move publicly could determine whether ABC will suffer fallout from a dreaded "botched transition." Today took years to recover from Ann Curry's awkward ouster from the anchor chair. But few expect Ripa to shed any tears during Live. "This is a woman who has been through a lot with that show and she has never shown it on the air," says one daytime veteran. Indeed, Ripa learned of Regis Philbin's plans to retire 20 minutes before the former co-hosts went on the air. "She's upset that they're making GMA more important [and] just using her show as a training ground," says the daytime veteran. "It's like, this was the plan all along, that it just was a revolving door."

Read More: Michael Strahan Leaves Bigger Shoes to Fill After 4-Year 'Live!' Stint

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