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Michael Strahan Named New 'Live! With Kelly' Co-Host

09/04/2012 10:01 am ET | Updated Nov 04, 2012

The famously gap-toothed former New York Giants star jogged onto the set and gave Ripa a big bear hug, lifting her off her feet. "It's so nice to have a co-host literally sweep you off your feet," Ripa said. "I know that he can bench press me if he wanted to."

Strahan's selection marks the end of a year-long search in which Ripa auditioned 59 celebrities to see who would be the best fit since Philbin's retirement including Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin, Kim Kardashian and Jerry Seinfeld. Strahan had been rumored as the frontrunner for the position in recent weeks with both TMZ and Broadcasting & Cable both reporting that Srahan had been hired. Nothing was made official until the "Live! With Kelly" premiere.

Jerry O'Connell and Nick Lachey were also believed to be frontrunners for the gig. Ripa recently said her dream co-host would be Anderson Cooper, but his two shows could preclude him from taking the job.

In his audition episodes, Strahan was high-energy and had solid chemistry with Ripa. During a June "Live!" interview Channing Tatum, who was promoting his stripping film "Magic Mike," for example, Strahan ripped off his pants and broke into a routine himself.

The LA Times had previously reported that Strahan would keep his "NFL Sunday" job and Strahan confirmed he'll be doing both gigs.

Tune in for "Live! With Kelly and Michael" weekdays on ABC.

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