Michael Strahan Picked To Co-Host 'Live! With Kelly Ripa'
Former New York Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan, 40, will join Kelly Ripa, 41, as the new permanent co-host of Live! with Kelly. Less than one day after ABC announced that Ripa’s new co-host would be named on September 4, Broadcasting and Cable first broke the news that the decision had already been made.
Since Regis Philbin’s departure last November after 28 years on Live!, Ripa has been accompanied by 59 guest hosts, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Groban, in an on-air tryout akin to the one Ripa went through herself over ten years ago when she took over for Kathie Lee Gifford in 2001. During this guest-hosting process, Strahan hosted the show 16 times, most recently last Friday.
Strahan, who won the Super Bowl with the Giants in 2008 and holds the single-season NFL record for sacks with 22.5, has parlayed his athletic accomplishments into a strong media presence. He has been featured in a number of commercials, such as those for Right Guard, Snickers and Pizza Hut, and appeared on the Fox sitcom Brothers, which was cancelled shortly after its premiere in 2009. Strahan currently co-hosts Fox NFL Sunday, a position he will reportedly continue to fill in addition to Live!.
Strahan’s case for host was no doubt enhanced after Seth Meyers, 38, the head writer for Saturday Night Live and one-time frontrunner for the gig, took himself out of the running earlier this summer.
Bill Carroll, a syndication analyst for Katz Television group, told USA Today that Strahan marks a new beginning for the successful show. "They didn't replace Regis. They found Kelly a new co-host, someone who could start anew with her and establish the next generation with the show. They certainly have a nice rapport together. They tease each other and they seem to have a comfort level."
Carroll said the decision was marked not by how it would affect the show's ratings, which currently sit at 3.4 million viewers daily, but the chemistry between Ripa and Strahan. Live! With Kelly, no doubt soon to be Live! With Kelly and Michael, airs weekdays at 9 a.m. E.T. —Hal Sundt
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