Kelly Ripa has found a big guy to fill Regis Philbin's big shoes: She named NFL star and "Fox NFL Sunday" broadcaster Michael Strahan as her new co-host during the first broadcast of the newly-named “Live! with Kelly and Michael.”
Strahan had made several guest appearances on the show, and co-hosted with Ripa 20 times over the last two years. Ripa began hosting "Live!" with rotating co-hosts on Nov. 21 after Regis Philbin's departure from the show. Since then, 59 men and women have co-hosted.
"It's time for a new era of our show to begin," Ripa said on Tuesday's show. "It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the newest member of our 'Live!' family, Michael Strahan!"
"I adore you and I am so happy to be here and be a part of this," Strahan said. "You know how they say it's a dream come true? I truly can't say that because I didn't even know I could dream this."
Strahan spent 15 years with the New York Giants and was a seven-time Pro-Bowler. He led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2007. He also was named the NFL’s 2001 Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated and the 2001 Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
“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" executive producer Michael Gelman. “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.”