The countdown to Strahan's last day as co-host to Kelly Ripa has begun after the pair reunited on Tuesday morning's Live! for the first time since Strahan's bombshell announcement last week that he is leaving the morning talk show. Then on Tuesday afternoon, news broke that he will actually step down much earlier than expected – his last show will be May 13, four month earlier than previously announced.
Ripa, 45, and Strahan, 44, who walked out together holding hands, took a seat behind the co-hosting desk Wednesday morning but didn't address the news, instead jumping straight into the hot discussion topics of the day.
PEOPLE exclusively learned of Strahan's early departure on Tuesday, and a source said Strahan was "totally fine" with the news: "Now he can enjoy his summer."
ABC also confirmed the news in a statement, explaining that the network came to the decision after meeting with Strahan and Ripa, as well as producers of both Live! and Good Morning America, which Strahan will be joining as a full time co-anchor in September.
"Michael's last day on Live! will be on Friday, May 13, which not only gives the show the chance to have a nice send-off for him during the May book, but to also immediately begin the on-air search for a new co-host," read the statement.
"This plan also allows GMA to start integrating Michael into the show more often this summer before his full-time start in September."
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PEOPLE's source added that "this is not about feeling awkward with Kelly."
"He was willing to stay until the fall, but the network is saying this gives them more time to find the co-host. He's a team player. He will do what they ask."
As for the vibe between Strahan and Ripa, the source said it "remained tense" after Ripa's weeklong absence from the show after being "completely blindsided" by the announcement last week.
Strahan, though, is fine with the new arrangement: "He's leaving or another show. He's not losing his job," said the source.
A source close to Ripa called the parting "amicable."
Meanwhile, Ripa and Strahan, despite being nominated for an award, will not be attending the Daytime Emmy Awards Sunday, reports TVLine. The duo also did not attend last year.
Live! With Kelly and Michael airs weekdays (check local listings).