Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Entertainment

September 4, 2012

Ex-NFL star Strahan becomes Kelly Ripa's co-host

(Continued)

Or rather, "live! with kelly and michael." Eyeing the brand-new all-lowercase logo during a commercial break, the co-hosts pondered whether the first letters of their names would look better capitalized.

During their breezy first "host chat," Strahan amusedly shared from a list of obnoxious pet names for women ("babe" and "sweet cheeks" among them). The pair discussed parenting policies, in particular how much money the Tooth Fairy should award for a lost tooth.

"Homeland" star Claire Danes was the first guest, followed by singer Phillip Phillips.

Then Olympic gold-medal gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber each teamed with one of the co-hosts in a challenge on balance beams. Strahan was totally game for the stunt, which called for carrying eggs balanced on a spoon. (The two teams tied with 13 eggs apiece.)

After the broadcast, Strahan downplayed any suggestion the show would be changing much.

"I think you have two people who can laugh at themselves, who can laugh at each other, who have a good time, who get along — and make sure that anyone who watches the show enjoys it," Strahan said. "I think it's the same formula."

The formula was cooked up by Philbin, the original host, nearly 30 years ago. Ripa joined him in 2001.

Executive producer Michael Gelman, who oversaw that transition from Kathie Lee Gifford to Ripa, was asked how Strahan emerged as the favorite in the current competition.

"Chemistry isn't something you can really put your finger on," he said. "But there was something special individually with Michael, and the chemistry was there."

Ripa, declaring that she had had "a little bit of a say" in Strahan's selection, said, "I wear my heart on my sleeve, so it's pretty obvious that I love him. So I was definitely on board."

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