BRISTOL, Tenn. — The first time he met Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon never imagined that he would one day drive in relief for his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.

Yet here Saturday night, Gordon will do just that, suiting up for the fourth consecutive race to drive the organization’s No. 88 Chevrolet in place of Earnhardt in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Earnhardt has been sidelined since mid-July due to concussion-like symptoms and the timing of his return has yet to be determined.

Their first meeting came in the mid 1990s at North Wilkesboro Speedway when Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Earnhardt Jr.’s father, were at the top of their game. The elder Earnhardt was already a legendary figure in the sport; Gordon was on his way to becoming one.

The cheering and jeering of the Earnhardt and Gordon fans was a weekly occurrence at tracks across the country. That the two would go on to become both friends and business associates seemed unfathomable to those in the grandstands.

“I remember sitting there on pit road and Dale Sr. and he came walking by … it was the first time I ever met (Junior),” Gordon told NASCAR.com recently. “They were getting ready to qualify; I don’t remember if he was driving a Late Model maybe … I don’t exactly remember but I knew he’d been doing some racing and was building some momentum.

“I remember that he was very respectful. It was cool to meet him and then shortly after that see him rise as quick as he did.”

Gordon “retired” from competition at the end of 2015, with four series titles and 93 career victories. The last time he visited Bristol, he was working in the television booth, just two months into his new role as a FOX NASCAR analyst.

RELATED: Remembering some of the top moments at Bristol

Now, he’s back behind the wheel at a track where he notched five wins and five of 81 career poles.

Hendrick officials announced July 14 that doctors had not cleared Earnhardt Jr. to compete the following weekend at New Hampshire. Alex Bowman stepped in and finished 26th in his only start with the team.

Gordon took over the driving duties for races at Indianapolis (13th), Pocono (27th) and most recently Watkins Glen (14th).

Getting back in the car, and the No. 88 in particular, was an unusual feeling for Gordon although the 45-year-old certainly garnered his share of the spotlight throughout his career.

“I knew it was a big story,” he said of the return, “but still until you’re living it and the reality of it is there, you don’t know how your heart’s going to beat, how your hands are going to sweat. That first time on track at Indy, I was sweating. And not just because of the heat.

“It would be different if I had been out for one week or two weeks. But I’d been out for eight months. I hadn’t really driven this package. There’s added pressure because of the situation, it being Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car. To me the pressure was more about the performance.”

Earnhardt, who also missed two races in 2012 after suffering a concussion, is a two-time champion in NASCAR’s XFINITY Series and has 26 Sprint Cup victories. His absence from competition has seen him fall from 13th to 21st in the points standings.

His move to the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) is one Gordon hasn’t forgotten either. Earnhardt made one start in the series ’96 and eight in ’97 before going full-time the following season.

“I went to see Dale Sr. about some business and he said ‘Hey come check out Dale Jr.’s car for Watkins Glen,” Gordon said. “… I looked at the car and remember it wasn’t fancy, wasn’t some super premium piece of equipment. The shifter on it was so long. Total old school. At that point we had been making really nice transmissions, road course cars, short shifters and all those things.”

Gordon said he took the opportunity for a bit of friendly ribbing.

“I gave Senior a hard time,” he said. “I was like ‘What’s this? You’re going to make him go to Watkins Glen in this? That shifter is just wrong. This car is not at all what he deserves.'”

Earnhardt wasn’t swayed by the comments, according to Gordon.

“He goes, ‘Oh no. I’m going to make him work for it. He’s not going to have it easy; he’s going to work on it himself. I’m not going give him the best equipment. He’s not going to learn anything being in the best equipment. He’s going to have to drive some mediocre equipment so he can learn.’

“And I thought that was pretty cool.”

Ailing Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains uncertain of return to Cup racing

The NASCAR driver talks about his concussion at Watkins Glen.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t know when he will return to racing – only that he feels confident he will.

Earnhardt, making a day trip to Watkins Glen International on Friday, continues to undergo treatment for concussion symptoms that have kept him out of the past two races and will again for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 At The Glen. Whenever doctors give him clearance to return to racing, he said he hopes he’ll be ready.

“Our intentions are to get cleared and get back to racing,” Earnhardt said. “We are just taking it one evaluation at a time. It is frustrating to have to do it that way, but that is the process, and we hope and expect that when we go back for the next evaluation that we are symptom-free and can start to see a timeline develop. Until then, we are just taking it one evaluation at a time.”

Earnhardt, who described most of his symptoms as being related to ocular imbalance and stability, said there is no timetable for his return. That, he said, will come after doctors declare him symptom-free.

“The point right now is just to get healthy,” he said. “Just to get right. I’m not thinking about the what-ifs. I’m just listening to my doctors. We went into this with the intentions of getting back in the car when we get cleared. I think that is a possibility and so do my doctors. So I am excited about that. Whenever it happens, it happens.”

Earnhardt said he firmly believes he will race again.

“I have every intention of honoring my current contract (with Hendrick Motorsports),” he said. “I want to race. I miss the competition. I miss being here. I miss the people and as Rick likes to say, ‘We’ve got unfinished business.’ I’m not ready to stop racing. I’m not ready to quit. It’s a slower process. I wish it wasn’t. But I’m not going to go in the car until the doctors clear me.

“The doctors won’t let me race. This is not my decision, but it’s the right decision and I trust what my doctors are telling me. When they say I’m good to go, I believe them. If they say I’m healthy and I can race, I’m going to race.”

Earnhardt said he is evaluated every couple of weeks. The only focus of his sessions with his doctor is getting better, not what might happen afterward.

“No, that is not the conversation your doctor is going to have with you when he is trying to get you right,” Earnhardt said. “You are just worrying about getting normal. All he cares about is fixing you. That is his job. He doesn’t care about my racing or whatever I do as a profession.

“He is not a counselor or a psychologist. That is not his profession, so he is just telling me: Do this treatment, take these medications, do this everyday and I promise you we are going to get you right. He believes that he can make me stronger and that I will be able to pick up where I left off.”

Earnhardt said his concussion symptoms came from the June race at Michigan, where he crashed on the 61st lap.

Hendrick Motorsports announced this week that Earnhardt would also miss Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 At The Glen at Watkins Glen International and the race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 20 (the Cup circuit is off next week). Jeff Gordon will continue to substitute for Earnhardt at Watkins Glen and Bristol.

“We have a break in the schedule after Watkins Glen, so the extra week of recovery time will certainly be a benefit,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement. “Dale will be back when he’s ready, and we’re looking forward to that happening, but the priority continues to be his health and well-being. We’ll keep our focus on that and let the doctors guide us.”

In addition to treatment, Earnhardt said his doctor has encouraged him to go into social situations that will put him under a certain degree of stress.

“You don’t want to go anywhere where you’re going to feel worse,” said Earnhardt, who also missed two races in 2012 with two other concussions. “And this situation, my doctor tells me, is good therapy to go somewhere that makes you feel worse. Go in there and get exposure and then get out and go somewhere where you can kind of get calmed back down and then repeat the process.”

That includes activities such as going out to lunch or even horsing around with his niece and nephew at sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller’s house.

“Boy, that drives up the symptoms pretty good,” Earnhardt said, laughing.

Coming to Watkins Glen has perhaps been his biggest dip into a stressful environment. With fiancée Amy Reimann away for the weekend, Earnhardt decided to make the trip to the road course in central New York.

“So I was at the house by myself and was just looking for some things to do,” Earnhardt said. “Figured coming to the track wasn’t a bad idea. Get to hang out with my guys a little bit. It just felt so weird not being there, so here we are.”

He arrived Friday morning, met with the media, then walked to the garage area, where he visited members of his No. 88 Chevy team.

“This is probably the worst situation as far as making my symptoms go haywire, but that’s what (the doctor) wants,” Earnhardt said. “He wants me to do anything whether it’s going places and pushing myself to get into areas that give me anxiety and drive the symptoms. All the rehab drives the symptoms. They want me to push the symptoms so my body gets used to them and they become suppressed and then it’s no longer an issue.”

Earnhardt remained around the garage area until the day’s second practice ended, then planned to return to his Iredell County home later Friday afternoon.

“I just wanted to come and see everybody,” Earnhardt said. “I got to go see my guys and they would (have been) really upset if I didn’t. It’s been so weird not to be at the track. You don’t really realize how many relationships and friendships you have and how much you appreciate them until you are not able to have access to it.

“Just to be able to come to the track was something I was excited about. I’m going to go into the garage to the hauler and I will stick around until after practice is over and things kind of calm down, so I can see my guys when they are not working.”

‘Mike and Molly’ Officially Cancelled: CBS President Glenn Geller Says Sitcom Ending Is Confirmed

It’s official. Following multiple cast members sharing the fatal news on Twitter last year, “Mike and Molly” has been canceled by CBS.

Newly minted CBS president Glenn Geller made the announcement Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

“‘Mike and Molly,’ listen, these decisions are really challenging and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chuck [Lorre], Al Higgins, Melissa, Billy — the whole cast and crew,” he said. “But I can confirm that this will be the last season of ‘Mike and Molly.’”

As for the final episode of the sitcom, Geller said, “I think the fans will be very satisfied with what Chuck and Al have planned.”

Though the cancellation was a sure thing, no official axing came from the network until now. The final season, which began on Jan. 6, will wrap up this spring. The show is currently in production, with two more episodes to complete filming.

In early December, Rondi Reed, who plays Mike’s (Billy Gardell) mother Peggy on the long-running sitcom, shared on Facebook that the show had been canceled.

“Before you hear it elsewhere (and some already have) this is the final and 6th Season of ‘Mike and Molly’ on CBS,” she wrote. “It is also a shortened season (13 episodes) after the announced full renewal of 22 episodes back in March by the network. We are done taping as of January 27th 2016 and I am not sure exactly when/if the episodes will all be aired.”

Gardell also shared the news on social media, tweeting: “Mike and Molly returns Jan 6, it will be our last episodes. There are 13 of them. Thank you everyone who supported us.”

Melissa McCarthy, who’s shot to superstardom since the show’s 2010 debut, also took to Twitter with an emotional message, regarding the cancellation. She tweeted: “I was shocked and heartbroken when CBS canceled #MikeAndMolly. I would have shot this show for 50 more years. I’ll miss my 2nd family.”

Before the sudden news of cancellation, “Mike and Molly” landed an early Season 6 renewal this past March. However, the show was not placed on the network’s fall schedule, as it hadn’t been for the 2014-15 season either.

McCarthy and Gardell starred as the title pair, a couple who met at an Overeaters Anonymous group and fell in love. During its run, the series was nominated for many People’s Choice and Emmy award with McCarthy winning the statue for lead actress in a comedy at the 2011 Emmys.

Melissa McCarthy: Gorgeous Revealing 70lb Weight Loss At Women In Comedy Event

Melissa McCarthy has lost an astonishing amount of weight, and she showed off her new figure in a fun and flirty pink dress at a Women In Comedy event on June 7.


Melissa, 45, is on one of four ELLE covers for their July issue, alongside her Ghostbusters co-stars Kate McKinnon, 32, Kristen Wiig, 42, Leslie Jones, 48.

At the event celebrating the women, she looked so pretty in pink, showing off her weight loss and a mega-watt smile. She was wearing a Judy B Swartz custom made dress. Her hair was styled in gorgeous, beauty waves and her makeup was pink and peachy for summer.

Melissa McCarthy’s Weight Loss — Pretty In Pink At ELLE Women In Comedy Event
Melissa has said in the past that a high protein, low carb diet help her shed the pounds.

“No trick, nothing to tell, just super boring life. You bring it real down, you don’t do anything fun and you go to bed at 7:30 — that’s the trick,” Melissa told Extra. She was probably joking, but there is definitely some truth in skipping happy hours and late night snacks!

She also says that putting less pressure on herself has paid off. “I truly stopped worrying about it. I think there’s something to kinda loosening up and not being so nervous and rigid about it that, bizarrely, has worked.”

Melissa actually has her very own plus-size clothing line. She told More magazine in 2015: “People don’t stop at size 12. I feel like there’s a big thing missing where you can’t dress to your mood above a certain number.”

We think Melissa looks great at any size, and we hope she is happy and confident with her new body!

Gawker, Filing for Bankruptcy After Hulk Hogan Suit, Is for Sale

Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, in March after a jury awarded Hulk Hogan millions in damages in a lawsuit against the company.
Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, in March after a jury awarded Hulk Hogan millions in damages in a lawsuit against the company.

Gawker Media, under pressure from a $140 million legal judgment and facing a determined foe in the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is putting itself up for sale.

The company is beginning an auction, and Ziff Davis, a digital media company, has submitted an opening bid. That bid was for $90 million to $100 million, according to a person briefed on Gawker’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Such an offer is known as a stalking-horse bid, meant to set a floor in a court-supervised auction.

Gawker said in a news release that it would “maintain normal operations” during the sales process. Filing for Chapter 11 stays claims from creditors, including court judgments — meaning Gawker would not need to begin paying the $140 million that was awarded in March to the professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose name is Terry G. Bollea, in an invasion-of-privacy case involving the publication of a sex tape. It also allows companies more time and more control as they reorganize themselves. The company still plans to appeal the case.

Weeks earlier, Mr. Thiel acknowledged in an interview with The New York Times that he was financially supporting Mr. Bollea’s lawsuit, as well as other lawsuits against the organization. Mr. Thiel, a founder of Paypal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook, was outed as being gay by one of Gawker’s blogs, the now-defunct Valleywag, nearly a decade ago. He said that article’s headline, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people,” and articles written about his friends and others “ruined people’s lives for no reason” and prompted his decision to finance cases against Gawker.

“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” Mr. Thiel said of his supporting Gawker’s legal opponents. “I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”

The revelation that Mr. Thiel was behind Mr. Bollea’s lawsuit and others has placed Gawker at the center of a First Amendment battle that has captivated the news media and could reshape how news organizations cover celebrities and other individuals. It has also shed light on long-simmering tensions between the media world and Silicon Valley, which has become increasingly secretive and elusive.

In a statement, Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder and chief executive, said Gawker was “encouraged by the agreement with Ziff Davis.”

Ziff Davis is a once-mighty publisher of computer magazines that struggled with the collapse of the print advertising business and has remade itself as a publisher of tech, gaming and men’s lifestyle websites. Its online properties include IGN, Geek.com and AskMen.com.

In an internal memo obtained by The New York Times, Ziff Davis’s chief executive, Vivek Shah, said that under the terms of a potential agreement, the company would acquire Gawker Media’s properties but none of its liabilities. When discussing its plans for Gawker Media, it referred to the benefits of having all of the company’s blogs, but it conspicuously omitted any mention of its flagship site, Gawker.com.

Gawker.com, which published the sex tape featuring Mr. Bollea and made its reputation on its snarky tone and aggressive coverage of any topic it felt was interesting, has often been the target of critics.

Mr. Bollea sued Gawker Media in 2012 over the publication of a black-and-white sex tape that showed Mr. Bollea having sex with a woman who was at the time the wife of a friend of his.

In March, after a two-week trial, a Florida jury awarded $115 million in damages to Mr. Bollea, a figure that exceeded the $100 million he had asked for. A jury later awarded $25 million more in punitive damages, bringing the total to $140 million.

In January, Gawker sold a minority stake in the company to the investment company Columbus Nova Technology Partners, partly in preparation for the lawsuit by Mr. Bollea.

Ziff Davis traces its origins to the late 1920s, when William B. Ziff began publishing hobbyist magazines devoted to aviation. In the 1950s, it branched out into electronics magazines. When the computer industry began to take off in the 1980s, it plowed into the market, with a stable of publications like PC Magazine and Computer Shopper that were bursting with advertising at the time.

Ownership of the publisher has changed hands many times since the mid-1990s, when it was sold to Forstmann Little, the private equity firm, for $1.4 billion, and later to the Japanese company SoftBank. Ziff Davis was acquired for $167 million in 2012 by j2Global, an internet services company with an assortment of internet fax, online phone, email marketing and other communications services.

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris Hit the Gym Separately After Breakup

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris are making breakups look good by hitting up the gym.

Both the “Style” songstress and the EDM DJ, whose real name is Adam Wiles, hit up their gyms—separately, of course—after calling it quits on their 15-month relationship. Taylor looked happy and fit as she made her way out of the gym, wearing a white crop top and cropped leggings. She had her platinum locks pulled back into a low ponytail and covered her face with a pair of sunglasses.

Harris walked out of his gym wearing a dark blue zip-up sweatshirt and sweatpants, looking serious as he made his way to the car.

T. Swift has made moving on look easy, spending time with friends and family and even surprising a couple at their wedding. She not only took a picture with the newly betrothed couple but also performed for the guests. It seems the “We Are Never Getting Back Together” singer has found her happiness, even when she’s tirelessly exercising!

Taylor Swift Is Leaning on Her Friends and Family After Calvin Harris Split: ‘She’s Looking Forward,’ Says Source


Trust Taylor Swift to shake off a breakup like the best of them.

After PEOPLE exclusively broke the news of the singer’s recent split from her DJ and producer boyfriend, Calvin Harris, 32, Swift put her focus elsewhere and lifted the spirits of some very special fans just days later.

After her surprise appearance over the weekend at Max Singer and Kenya Smith’s New Jersey wedding, Swift, 26, was photographed Tuesday leaving a gym in New York with a smile on her face.

“Of course she’s sad about the breakup, but she’s leaning on her family and friends and looking forward,” says a Swift source. “She’ll be just fine.”

For all the details on Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris’ split and how the singer is moving on, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

A guest at Singer’s wedding opened up exclusively to PEOPLE about Swift’s sweet gesture. “There were lots of emotions entering [the wedding],” says the guest. “Of course there was sadness as well, and Taylor was able to really transform that sadness into a celebration.”

A longtime fan of the star, Singer and his late mother shared a mother-son dance to Swift’s hit “Blank Space” at his first wedding ceremony in the hospital before she died. Swift surprised the newlyweds at their second wedding celebration on June 4 with an acoustic version of the song after Singer’s sister Ali reached out via a fan letter in April.

Posing for selfies and goofing off with the bridal party and guests, “everyone at the wedding was blown away by the magic she was able to create,” says the guest. “We could never have dreamed that she would have responded to the letter in the way that she did. Taylor was unbelievably down-to-earth and normal.”

Hulk suing Gawker for allegedly leaking his racist tirade

Hulk Hogan is trying to take down Gawker one more time.

After his $140 million legal victory against the gossip website, the famous pro wrestler has filed a second lawsuit over his surreptitiously recorded sex tapes — hitting the site with a new claim for allegedly leaking sealed court documents to the National Enquirer that quoted him making racists remarks.

In a 2007 encounter with his best friend’s wife, Hogan unleashed an ugly tirade about his daughter Brooke’s black boyfriend.

“I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f–k some n—-r, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n—-r worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. F—ing n—-r,” Hogan said, according to a transcript of the recording.

WWE immediately fired Hogan, scrubbing his name from its website and Hall of Fame.

His “income was cut off, his legacy in entertainment was severely damaged (if not completely destroyed), and his global brand was forever tarnished,” the new Florida suit says.

Hogan says Gawker slipped the transcript, which was filed under seal in the then-pending suit between the two parties over a second sex tape with the same woman, Heather Clem. At the time, Clem was married to Hogan’s best friend, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

The National Enquirer published the story, which “Gawker had been threatening to release publicly for months,” in July, according to the suit.

Just as the Enquirer posted the damaging transcript online, Gawker CEO Nick Denton wrote a piece on his blog predicting that Hogan’s “real secret” would soon be revealed, the suit says.

Minutes later, Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio tweeted to Hogan “XOXOXO” with a link to the Enquirer posting that included the confidential transcript, according to court papers.

Hogan immediately admitted that he had made the offensive remarks and apologized.

In the new suit, Hogan is also going after a group of Florida residents, including another radio DJ named Mike “Cowhead” Calta, for sending at least one of his secretly recorded sex tapes to Gawker.

Law enforcement officials declined to pursue criminal charges against Calta and others involved in the alleged leak.

Gawker is appealing the $140 million jury verdict over the first sex tape and has denied that it leaked the sealed transcript to the Enquirer.

The new suit is for unspecified money damages.

Gawker Media responded in a statement Monday, “This is getting ridiculous. Hulk Hogan is a litigious celebrity abusing the court system to control his public image and media coverage.”

“As we’ve said before and are happy to say again: Gawker did not leak the information,” the statement said. “It’s time for Hulk Hogan to take responsibility for his own words, because the only person who got Hulk Hogan fired from the WWE is Hulk Hogan.”

Love Match pour Prince Albert et la Princesse Charlène au tennis

Princesse Charlene de Monaco et son mari le Prince Albert ont quitté leurs jumeaux à la maison car ils jouissent d’une date de la journée le week-end . Le couple est sorti pour la finale de Monte- Carlo Masters , où ils ont regardé Rafael Nadal marquer sa première victoire en tournoi de l’année .

Charlene et Albert ont partagé la vedette avec le joueur de tennis espagnol, comme ils ont été photographiés en prenant place dans la loge VIP au Monte – Carlo Country Club .

La princesse et ancien olympien coupé un chiffre élégant, vêtu d’une veste chic marine et l’appariement pantacourt . Elle a balayé son pixie cheveux blonds sur le côté et ajouté à son look glamour avec une touche de rouge à lèvres.

Princesse Charlene et le prince Albert ont quitté leurs jumeaux à la maison

Comme ils ont pris dans l’action Charlene, 38 ans, et Albert, 58, échangé des commentaires et applaudi Nadal qui a battu Gaël Monfils en France. couple le plus célèbre de Monaco a également partagé un affichage rare de l’affection du public, comme Albert a été photographié embrassant doucement la tête de sa femme comme elle se pencha vers lui.

Les tourtereaux avaient laissé leurs enfants à la maison car ils ont assisté à l’engagement ensemble. Charlene et Albert ont eu la chance de féliciter Nadal en personne ils ont rejoint le champion – et son trophée en argent – sur le court et posé pour les photos officielles.

Rafael Nadal a marqué sa première victoire en tournoi de l’année

La paire a accueilli leurs jumeaux prince Jacques et Princesse Gabriella en Décembre 2014, trois ans après leur mariage. Charlene a été repéré plus récemment en prenant son fils de 16 mois, à un tournoi de rugby en Février.

La maman de deux enfants porté fièrement son petit garçon autour du Stade Louis II à Monaco et à un moment accroupi vers le bas pour lui donner une accolade douce par derrière. Notamment absent de la fête était la soeur jumelle de Jacques Gabriella.

La princesse a décrit son fils et sa fille comme « très active , très ludique , absolument adorable”

En Décembre ventilateurs royales ont eu un aperçu de ce que la vie quotidienne est comme pour les jumeaux royaux , comme Charlene et Albert ont donné accès à des caméras filmer la famille à la maison . Dans la vidéo touchante Charlene peut être vu jouer peek-a -boo comme elle divertit ses enfants .

Dans l’interview, filmé en anglais et en français , les bébés ont joué aux pieds de leurs parents au milieu d’une sélection de leurs jouets préférés . Charlene a commencé en décrivant ses enfants comme étant «très actif, très ludique , absolument adorable , beaucoup de plaisir », ajoutant avec un rire : ” Et beaucoup de travail . ”

Parlant en français , Albert a dit que les jumeaux sont contents et pleurent rarement : «Je ne l’ai jamais vraiment entendu se plaindre Oui , quand ils ont faim ( ils le font ), mais ils ne sont jamais allés bruyant ( sauf quand ) ils sont joyeux. . ”

Frequent ‘Live’ Guest Cohost Jerry O’Connell Weighs in on Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan’s Drama: I’m ‘Team Kelly’

In her corner! Jerry O’Connell, who has cohosted numerous episodes of Live alongside Kelly Ripa, opens up to Us Weekly exclusively about Michael Strahan leaving the show and whether he has been approached to take the gig.

Last month, Strahan, 44, announced on Live With Kelly & Michael that, after cohosting the morning talk show with Ripa for four years, he was leaving for Good Morning America. The day after his announcement, Ripa took an unplanned day off from the show, and when she returned to the air, she said she hoped the turn of events would start a conversation about “respect in the workplace.”

O’Connell, 42, sang Ripa’s praises to Us Weekly on Monday, May 9, at a press event to promote his upcoming recurring role on ABC’s Mistresses.

“To get to work next to Kelly Ripa would be anyone’s dream in that field,” the Crossing Jordan alum says. “Kelly is the best of the best. … Having worked with her there at Live, Kelly is the best. I’m always Team Kelly.”

O’Connell — whose name has been bandied about as a possible candidate to replace the NFL Hall of Famer — says that he has not been in contact with anyone from the show since the departure news broke. However, the Stand by Me actor, who has twin daughters with wife Rebecca Romijn, acknowledged he would have a tough time turning down a chance to cohost with the morning-TV mainstay on a regular basis. Strahan’s final Live episode airs Friday, May 13.

“It would be an honor — I would do anything Kelly asked me to do,” O’Connell says of joining Ripa, 45, permanently. “That’s how much I respect her.”

As to whether he was surprised that Strahan would leave so suddenly, the actor says, “Wasn’t everybody surprised — including Kelly? Everyone was, right? But it’s gonna be fun. Kelly’s the best. Kelly’s the best! I’ll watch Kelly with anybody.”

Live With Kelly & Michael airs weekdays in nationwide syndication. Mistresses returns to ABC Monday, May 30, at 10 p.m. ET.