USMagazine, Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 4:00pm (PDT)
Kelly Ripa co-hosted ABC's LIVE! for nine months with a rotating panel of male anchors, but as of September 4, she'll get her permanent co-host.
Though Ripa has expressed a keen interest in having bestie Anderson Cooper sit beside her, Broadcasting & Cable and TMZ say former NFL star Michael Strahan, 40, is expected to assume the seat vacated by Regis Philbin, who retired in November 2011. Strahan is said to have beat out contenders like Seth Meyers for the gig.
As rumors of Strahan's LIVE! appointment swirl, Us Weekly gets to know the man who just may make ABC's mornings brighter this fall.
1. Should Strahan get the LIVE! gig, he'll pull double duty at ABC and FOX Sports, where he hosts presume program Fox NFL Sunday. That shouldn't be a problem for the former New York Giants player and Super Bowl champ, who starred in and produced the short-lived FOX sitcom, Brothers, in 2009.
2. He has built-in chemistry with Ripa. During a June cohosting gig where he and Ripa interviewed Magic Mike's Channing Tatum, Strahan stripped down to his boxers to dance with his co-host -- and work the stage for dollar bills! -- on the morning show. "You're welcome, America," Ripa quipped as the hunky athlete earned catcalls from audience members.
3. He's a family man. Currently engaged to Eddie Murphy's ex-wife, Nicole Murphy, Strahan has two grown children from his marriage to Wanda Hutchins, and twin 7-year-old daughters with ex Jean Muggli.
4. Strahan won't be afraid to cozy up to LIVE's frequent animal guests. In 2007, he teamed with PETA to film a televised PSA called "Cold Paws," which raised awareness of how to adequately care for dogs in the winter weather.
5. If he does get the gig, Strahan won't see it as "replacing" Philbin. "If you put it in that aspect, it's just too big," the athlete told CNN's Showbiz Tonight in May. "I just look at it as an opportunity to go on TV and tell stories and have fun and entertain myself and other people, and not look at the big magnitude and scope of it. . . . I think the show fits my personality."