When it was leaked earlier this week that NFL star and Fox Sports personality Michael Strahan is expected to be named the permanent co-host alongside Kelly Ripa on “Live! with Kelly,” it caught some people by surprise.
The former New York Giants defensive end is not an obvious choice for the high-profile gig,
but with his easy charm and infectious grin, he does seem to be a winning one. While a People.com poll cites 51% of its voters as saying Strahan is not the right choice, most industry observers do think it’s a good move, noting that the likable Strahan, 40, has become something of a media darling since retiring from the NFL after the Giants big Super Bowl win in 2008.
It’s a “smart choice for Kelly,” says the New York Daily News.
Most critics agree, calling the gap-toothed celeb “funny,” “charismatic,” and “high energy,” who has solid chemistry with Ripa. Even the pair’s contrasting appearance is amusing — the 6′ 5″ Strahan hulks over Ripa’s 5′ 3″ frame.
Strahan also scored a compliment from a fellow NFL star/rival, when ex-Dallas Cowboys QB Troy Aikman Tweeted: “Congratulations to @NFLONFOX teammate @michaelstrahan on new gig w @kellyripa – well deserved!!”
It should have been a clue that Strahan was a frontrunner, considering he’s made an impressive 16 appearances on the show this year, and was one out of the 59 candidates who’ve tried out for the gig, along with the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Consuelos, Chris Harrison, Nick Lacey, Josh Groban, Seth Meyers, and New York anchor Pat Kiernan.
ABC does not plan to confirm the official selection until the new co-host is introduced on the show on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Strahan, who had a brief run as a sitcom star on Fox’s “Brothers” in 2009, will remain a co-host of “Fox NFL Sunday.”
New Yorker David Letterman Talked About the Choice on “The Late Show”:
What matters most, of course, are the viewers, and the casting decision has received overwhelmingly positive reaction from “Live!” viewers on xfinity’s Facebook page.
Here’s what some of our readers are saying about Strahan and Ripa:
“I was hoping it would be Michael – the two of them will be great!”
“His smile makes me smile and that’s not a bad thing.”
“I think they’re awesome together, I luv Kelly and I luv Michael!!!”
“i think he is a great choice. he is funny, and he and kelly r a hoot together.”
“Love him, so intelligent, funny, witty!!!”
“I like her choice! Mr. Strahan is very talented, likable & funny!”
There were some negatives comments in the mix as well, with one reader stating, “She must want to end the show…” and another noting that “The show has gone down hill since Regis left.”
Another wrote, “Terrible choice, you will see.” Someone else summed up it as: “dislike, will not watch!!!!!!!” And this poster couldn’t have been more clear or brief, stating simply, “No.”
As far as Strahan is concerned, he just wants to have fun.
“I just look at it as an opportunity to go on TV and tell stories and have fun and entertain myself and other people,” Strahan told CNN’s showbiz tonight. “I think the show fits my personality.”