Kelly Ripa sent a loud-and-clear message to her bosses at ABC on Thursday — by flashing a book about “David and Goliath” for the news cameras.
Ripa clutched her not-so-subtle paperback of choice — “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” — as she left her Upper East Side town house with hubby Mark Consuelos for a Caribbean getaway.
Network Goliaths? Meet Kelly and her slingshot wit.
Thus began the scorned “Live With Kelly and Michael” star’s second day of hooky-playing protest over Tuesday’s sudden, blindsiding news that co-host Michael Strahan was ditching their show for “Good Morning America.”
The 5-foot-3 Ripa is still livid that Strahan and network brass waited until just after taping Tuesday morning to tell her he would be leaving the show in September — alerting her mere minutes before announcing the move publicly, sources said.
But the tension between the pair is hardly a surprise. For all their on-air chemistry, Ripa, 45, and Strahan, 44, were far from the closest of colleagues, insiders dished.
The pair “did not get along. It was all for the show,’’ a Ripa source said. “They could not stand each other, and whenever they communicated off-camera, it was always through their reps.”
Strahan, a former New York Giant, was already doing two days a week at “GMA” on top of co-hosting “Live,” and the stress wore on the 6-foot-5 Hall of Fame defensive end, sources said.
“He was having temper tantrums. He’d lose it, yelling at [Ripa] and [‘Live’ executive producer Michael] Gelman.
“He acted like he was in a locker room, not a dressing room.”
Another source noted that Ripa helped get Strahan the job.
“She got [Strahan] started, he stepped over her without an FYI, and now a nice morning show has become ABC’s newest drama,” quipped the source.
But a Strahan source defended the former Giants star, insisting that he had been under strict orders not to tell anyone — even his co-star — until Tuesday that he was moving to “GMA.”
“They said, ‘Don’t tell her,’ ” one source said.
Another source added, “It’s 100 percent not true that they only talk through their reps. I’ve seen them together chatty a million times. But is there tension? Sure.”
It was just after 8 a.m. Thursday when Ripa — who makes a reported $20 million a year hosting “Live” — wordlessly slipped into a waiting SUV with Consuelos and sped off to the airport for a long weekend trip to Turks and Caicos.
Meanwhile, Strahan, who earns half that, was hosting “GMA.” Ripa’s no-show hissy fit has left him holding the bag with a succession of stand-ins for her on “Live.’’
“Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer filled in on nearly no notice Wednesday. Fox sports reporter Erin Andrews was pitching in Thursday and Friday, and “Pretty Little Liars” star Shay Mitchell is slated for Monday.
Strahan gave a rambling shout-out to Ripa on “GMA’’ Thursday, saying: “I’m very thankful for her, to her, because I’ve learned so much from her.
“And Michael Gelman showed me the ropes. I was so new to all of this, and if it weren’t for her and it weren’t for Michael Gelman and the staff there that really boosted me up and made me look a lot better than I really am, I never would have had a chance to be here and I’m grateful that I’m here.”