After a long wait, Live! with Kelly finally announced today who will be filling Regis Philbin’s shoes. Former NFL player Michael Strahan will be the new co-host.
Since Regis Philbin announced he would be leaving Live!, co-host Kelly Ripa has seen 59 different guest hosts ushered through the co-host seat. But when the season returned today, she finally announced who would share the stage with her from here on out.
Forty-year-old former NFL player Michael Strahan is the lucky winner of the role. Strahan also currently works on Fox NFL Sunday. While Strahan may seem like an odd choice, hiring him actually makes sense because of the show’s wish to gain more male viewers.
According to TV Guide, Strahan filled in as guest host 20 times in the last two years, and for Ripa, it was an easy choice. “It seems very second nature, and I’m so happy to be around him,” said Ripa. She told TV Guide that she is very excited at the pairing.
The respect seems to be mutual. “It is extremely hard, and she made it look easy,” he said of his new co-host. “She did an incredible job — what she went through was nothing short of amazing.”
Michael Gelman, executive producer for the show that is now called Live! with Kelly and Michael, told TV Guide that the decision was a tough one. Strahan ended up winning the part because of how he and Ripa got along when he filled in.
“Chemistry isn’t something you can put your finger on,” Gelman said. “They just had this energy.”
When Strahan was first talked about as a host, his role on his weekend football show didn’t seem in question at all. “Even when he assumes the new role, Strahan is expected to remain in his role with Fox NFL Sunday, as first reported by Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times,” said Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable magazine. But Strahan’s future with that show is still in question.
Strahan will begin his new job right away, as the new season of Live! with Kelly and Michael kicked off this week.