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Michael Strahan debuts as Kelly Ripa's new 'LIVE!' co-host

September 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Former NFL star Michael Strahan will be joining the morning talk show "LIVE!" as Kelly Ripa's permanent co-host.

Strahan made his debut on Tuesday, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired nine months ago. Since Philbin's departure, 59 different men have co-hosted the show with Ripa, and Strahan co-hosted several times over the past year.

The announcement of the former New York Giants star wasn't exactly a surprise. News of his new gig had leaked last week.

The show's executive producer, Michael Gelman, said the chemistry between Ripa and Strahan was off the charts and continued to grow every time he visited the show.

"There was definitely something special individually with Michael, and also their chemistry was there," Gelman said.

Ripa is a big fan of Strahan's irreverence, singling out the time he surprised her and the audience with a "Magic Mike"-inspired strip tease. She said she thought it was a turning point.

"If I have to pinpoint a moment, that would be the moment," she said.

The show will now be called "LIVE! with Kelly and Michael." It may have been wishful thinking on Strahan's part, but when he visited the show in 2008, he told Philbin that he may want to replace him.

Strahan played his entire NFL career as a Defensive End for the New York Giants. He helped the team win the Super Bowl XLII in 2008 against the New England Patriots. He is currently a host of "Fox NFL Sunday." Strahan also starred on the shortlived Fox sitcom, "Brothers," in 2009.

Philbin was the original "Live!" host for more than 28 years. Ripa joined him in 2001.

Philbin approves of his replacement, telling TMZ over the weekend that Strahan has a great sense of humor. His advice for the new TV couple was to "be patient with one another."


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