When Michael Strahan broke the single-season sack record in 2002, most observers believed he was given preferential treatment by Brett Favre.
The quarterback, a close friend of the defensive lineman's, very clearly ran right at Strahan and then basically fell down in order to ensure Strahan recorded sack number 22.5.
But that's nothing compared to the preferential treatment sources claim Strahan is receiving from producers at Good Morning America.
“They roll out the carpet for him, while seasoned talent is treated like dirt," a source tells Page Six of The New York Post of Strahan, adding:
"He’s been given a lot of opportunity [and] flexibility, when the others who have been working there longer don’t get that kind of treatment."
Strahan, of course, bolted for GMA under somewhat controversial circumstances.
About a year ago, ABC announced that Strahan would leave Live with Kelly and Michael for a new, permanent role on its flagship morning program.
But Kelly Ripa only learned about this departure at the last second, causing her to react with anger... causing major tension between the co-hosts for the duration of Strahan's role on Live... and then causing him to depart the program four months earlier than originally planned.
He debuted on GMA in September and was welcomed with open arms at the time by Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos.
That was then, however.
Strahan signed a unique deal that allows him to continue to analyze football at Fox during the NFL season and also host ABC’s “$100,000 Pyramid.”
Such an arrangement has alienated Strahan from his GMA colleagues, as has his alleged behavior on set.
Lara Spencer “feels like her role has been minimized with Strahan," Page Six writes, with the insider explaining:
There’s not a lot of love between the two. They know how to put it on for the cameras, but he’s doing a lot of what Lara should be doing [on the show] and she’s not happy. She’s the pop person.”
Stephanopoulos has also had it with Strahan.
“He’s bored with the fluff," the newspaper claims of Stephanopoulos, a former political operative who doesn't like the direction Strahan has taken the show in.
"He goes into work, does the show and leaves by 8:57 a.m. He doesn’t interact. He’s been phoning it in for quite some time."
However, an ABC News executive was given a chance to respond and disputed a lot of this account.
First, regarding Strahan and Spencer, he or she says the following:
“That’s just bullsh-t. They get along great. She loves having someone with his sense of humor on the show. Michael is lovely with the staff.
As for the assertion that Stephanopoulos isn't giving it his all at work?
“The idea that George is phoning it in is absurd," this same source says, adding:
He gets to GMA at, like, 3 in the morning. He works 16 hours a day. He goes home because he does all of the special reports in addition to GMA, and he’s calling sources and getting ready for his Sunday show.
"He comes back to the office in the afternoon . . . And he’s incredibly engaged in the news coming out of DC right now.”
As for any perceived struggles at the show?
This executive looks to the only barometer of success and scoffs at any notion of trouble.
"We’ve tripled our lead over the Today show [in total viewers]. The show has never been better."