It’s easy to mock TV hosts for their “problems” — they make millions, how hard could their lives really be? But in return, their personal lives frequently play out in front of the entire world. This has to be especially uncomfortable during a clash with your boss — particularly when you have no choice but to explain the situation to your viewing audience.

So on Tuesday, “Live! With Kelly and Michael” co-host Kelly Ripa pulled off the nearly impossible: After a week in which a battle with Disney-ABC made international headlines, Ripa returned to her show with a speech that was funny, sincere, emotional, practical, relatable and — unexpected for anything in showbiz– extremely candid. It was so pitch-perfect that it should be taught in morning show TV host schools.

In other words, she did some seriously impressive damage control. Ripa was angered last week that she found out her co-host Michael Strahan was leaving (to join “Good Morning America” in the fall) just a few minutes before the rest of the world. She felt it disrespected her show and didn’t come to work for the rest of the week, leading to a storm of controversy. ABC executives reportedly apologized for the way Ripa was informed of the news.

So when she returned on Tuesday, Ripa was left in the awkward position to explain what happened — on live TV in front of millions of viewers. Here a 10-step look at how she pulled off the tough moment, which kicked off with massive applause and a nonstop standing ovation from the studio audience.

Ripa: “Guys, guys, guys…our long national nightmare is over! Please, sit down.”
Step 1: Starts off with a joke that shows even she recognizes this entire story spiraled out of control considering it’s about a morning talk show.

Ripa: “Look, I’m going to be completely honest. I’m fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message.”
Step 2: A shot at the tabloids for those reports that she might “go rogue” on stage during her return.

Ripa: “I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming.”
Step 3: Thank the people who make the show (the No. 2 highest-rated in daytime TV) even possible.

Ripa: “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right. And let’s be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so we get each other! In that time, I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and just, like, say something I might regret.”
Step 4: Some truth bombs! Softened with a joke, but accurate. Ripa has been the “Live!” co-host since 2001 — her name is first on the marquee, so she probably should have been informed about major changes.

Ripa: “So what transpired though over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and most importantly, respect in workplace.”
Step 5: Ripa proves she knows a main reason this story blew up. In addition to being juicy drama, it also became a symbol for how women are treated at work, even those in charge.

Ripa: “And since we’re being honest, I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place that I’ve devoted myself to not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all of the producers and the crew who work on this show. We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family.”
Step 6: Add some genuine emotion — Ripa’s voice shook as she called it her second home.

Ripa: “Apologies have been made and the best thing to come out of all of this, you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that ‘Live!’ is a priority.”
Step 7: A brief nod to her bosses, but more importantly her staff, underlining another root of the issue: How Disney-ABC treats “Live!” compared to its other shows.

Ripa: (Big applause) “Guys, calm down. They didn’t say anything about Christmas bonuses. But there is a commitment to this show and the people that work here and most importantly to you, the viewers, who have watched us every day for 30 years.”
Step 8: Throw in another joke, but publicly spill their “commitment” to the show in case something like this comes up again.

Ripa: “I am thrilled for Michael. I’m thrilled for you. This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn’t be and we couldn’t be prouder of you. And everything we accomplished together.”
Step 9: A kind shout-out to her co-host, combating those new rumors that they don’t get along.

Ripa: “So back to the show. This is entertainment. It’s supposed to be entertaining. So let’s get back to what we do best and start the show…incidentally, I just want to say one thing. My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy. And I think he’s right. I think he’s right. So let’s get this show started.”
Step 10: An ultimate acknowledgement that, yes, this is all personal — but it’s all still a little ridiculous.

Read more: