Photo Credit: James Devaney/WireImage
Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. Live! with Regis and Kelly. Live! with Kelly. And now…Live! with Kelly and Michael!
When Michael Strahan was announced as Kelly Ripa's new cohost Tuesday morning, he strode onto the Live set like a Super Bowl champion quarterback after a touchdown. He's not, but almost: Strahan is a former defensive end for the New York Giants, who won the 2008 Super Bowl during his last pro season.
During the media-blitzing afterglow of that win, he got even more attention than the actual quarterback, Eli Manning. Why? Because the guy is a ham. Is it weird to call a 275-pound NFL star a chatty Cathy? Because that's what he is. That's why it wasn't at all surprising when he went on to become a football analyst on Fox NFL Sunday. And it's not especially surprising that after a nine month search and 59 guest co-hosts, Strahan's name was the one bellowed by Live's announcer as Regis Philbin's successor.
"I adore you and I am so happy to be here and be a part of this," Strahan, 40, gushed at Ripa. "You know how they say it's a dream come true? I truly can't say that, because I didn't even know I could dream this."
That said, he seamlessly segued into the usual Live host-to-host banter, chatting with Ripa about topics from the tooth fairy to terms of endearment for loved ones.
Truth is, his selection was leaked a few weeks back. The secret was widely covered in the press, diluting today's announcement. But Ripa and Strahan, a perky pair if ever there was one, delivered the news with all the excitement of a Christmas morning surprise. Strahan brought her roses and literally swept her off her feet as balloons cascaded down from above. At 40, Strahan is right about Ripa's age (she's 41). And they have some other things in common: Both are parents, and both have acted in sitcoms. (Kelly: Hope & Faith; Strahan: Brothers.)
"It's time for a new era of our show to begin," Ripa said at the start of Tuesday's show. But with Strahan in the cohost seat, truly, the Live! beat goes on.