Michael Strahan Makes His ‘Live!’ Debut as Kelly Ripa’s Official New Co-Host

'Live!' Co-host found
A permanent cohost begins in September.
After months of anticipation, Kelly Ripa finally announced what most viewers already knew: Michael Strahan has officially joined Ripa as her new Live! co-host.

The retired New York Giants defensive end made his debut as the permanent co-host of the daytime staple on Tuesday, joining Ripa in the studio for a round of cheers from the audience — and confetti.

“It’s so nice to have a co-host who can literally sweep you off your feet,” said Ripa, after Strahan greeted his new partner with a bear hug.

Is Strahan the right man for the job?

“As a guest co-host, Michael’s chemistry with Kelly was off the charts, and continued to grow each time he visited the show,” said  Live!‘s executive producer, Michael Gelman, in a statement confirming Strahan’s hiring. “The interaction between the co-hosts always has been what makes this show different from any other on television. Kelly and Michael’s ability to play off of one another and just plain have a good time together creates great TV for the audience.”

Strahan, 40, made 16 appearances as Ripa’s guest host since Regis Philbin’s departure last November. One of his most memorable stints on Live! involved stripping for actor Channing Tatum.

Given his charismatic rapport with Ripa, rumors had cited him as a frontrunner — out of 59 auditioned contenders — for the position since August.

“I try to not think about it as replacing Regis because nobody could ever do that,” Strahan told Headline News in May. “When you put it in that aspect, when you think about it [like that], it’s just too big. So I just look at it as an opportunity to go on TV and tell stories and have fun.”

Strahan’s inaugural guests on Tuesday were actress Claire Danes and American Idol champ Phillip Phillips.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player