Michael Strahan New Permanent Co-host on ‘Live! With Kelly’ (Video)
No one can stop Michael Strahan. It was true in NFL, and it's certainly true today, as USA Today now confirms that the former New York Giants super bowl champ has been chosen as the permanent co-host for "Live! With Kelly."
Strahan was one of 59 co-hosts total who substituted for Philbin over the past nine months, some as larks (Neil Patrick Harris) and others as viable candidates. Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers was a finalist; other co-hosts included Josh Groban, "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison, Anderson Cooper, Nick Lachey, and Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos. Many charmed and contended for the job, but according to sources it was Strahan's infectious smile and easy-going demeanor helped him cinch the gig.
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The on-air tryouts marked a repeat of the process by which Ripa - then an actress on ABC soap All My Children- replaced Kathie Lee Gifford in 2001, beating finalist Lisa Rinna. It was clear they clicked: Last Friday, in his 16th appearance this year, Ripa introduced Strahan and added, "At this point, I feel like you should be announcing me!"
Strahan is expected to keep his weekend job as co-host of "Fox NFL Sunday," reportedly he'll fly to Los Angeles each weekend to shoot his segments.
It won't be official until the syndicated daytime talk show debuts its new season on September 4, but Broadcasting & Cable was the first to report Strahan has won the much-coveted gig vacated by longtime co-host Regis Philbin last fall.
Forty-year-old Strahan was a Pro Bowl defensive end for the New York Giants for 15 seasons before making a smooth transition into TV, co-hosting "Fox NFL Sunday" since his retirement. His ill-fated 2009 Fox sitcom "Brothers" only lasted a single season, but his new landing spot should be a bit more permanent: After all, the last guy stuck around for 28 years.
Ratings have largely held up since Philbin left the show, suggesting he may have been less crucial to the show's success than previously thought. "Live! With Kelly," which will presumably be renamed "Live With Kelly & Michael," averages 3.4 million viewers each weekday.