Kelly Ripa formally introduced on Tuesday retired NFL star Michael Strahan as the new co-host of her syndicated morning show, which has been renamed "LIVE! with Kelly and Michael."
Strahan, 40, picked his pint-sized co-host up off the floor and gave her a giant hug as colorful confetti and balloons rained down. Her announcement was made following weeks of rumors that said the athlete had obtained the job, beating 58 other celebrity guest hosts who, like himself, have filled in for Regis Philbin following his departure in 2011.
Strahan, known for his sense of humor and goofy personality, last guest co-hosted on August 17. On Tuesday's episode, he soon began cracking jokes and making goofy faces.
"It feels comfy, like it was molded for my bottom," he said, as he took Ripa's old chair alongside his co-host, who sat in Philbin's former spot.
"Yeah. We did have it molded especially for your bottom," she joked. "And we painted the walls backstage in honor of you. We painted the walls San Francisco 49ers colors."
Stahan, a defensive end, played for the New York Giants NFL team from 1993 to 2008, when he helped the team win the Super Bowl.
Tuesday's show featured a clip from a Feb. 6, 2008 episode of "LIVE! with Regis and Kelly" with Strahan as a guest following the football championship. Philbin asked Strahan what he planned to do with his career after he retired.
Strahan, who would retire from the sport the following June, answered: "There's a show that I'm on right now that maybe you wanna ... I'm just saying ''LIVE! With Michael and Kelly!' Welcome!'"
Strahan told Ripa on Tuesday's show that he did not recall the conversation.
"Unbelievable," he said. "Regis, I was joking."
Following his retirement, Strahan co-hosted "Fox NFL Sunday" and in 2009, he starred in his own short-lived comedy series, "Brothers." He said in "LIVE! with Kelly and Michael" on Tuesday that he was "in awe" of Philbin, who hosted "LIVE!" in its various formats for about 28 years.
"I admire him and if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be sitting here," Stahan said. "I just, I really appreciate all he's done and his encouragement and I was joking but I'm glad the joke came true."
"It was like a prophecy," Ripa added.
Strahan then put his fingers on his temples.
"I want ten billion dollars," he joked.
He then gave Ripa a dozen roses, saying, "You are my officially like my TV wife," and kissing her on the side of her lips.
Ripa, who has three children with her husband and fellow "All My Children" alum Mark Consuelos beamed and later gave props to the real lady in Strahan's life - his fiance, Nicole Murphy.
Murphy, who is also known as the ex-wife of actor Eddie Murphy, was shown on the side of the stage, smiling.
"She looks so beautiful," Ripa said. "I just wanted to show Nicole on TV 'cause she's so beautiful."
Strahan said it's been hard to keep his new "LIVE!" gig a secret.
"I've not going to say I've lied to people," he said. "I've acted very dumb."
Tuesday's episode of "LIVE! with Kelly and Michael" featured celebrity guests Claire Danes from the Showtime series "Homeland," Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber from the U.S. Olympic gold-winning gymnastics team and recent "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips.