September 4th, 2012
09:55 AM ET
After 200 shows and nearly 60 guest co-hosts, Kelly Ripa has found her co-host match.
As expected, "Live!" rolled out the red carpet for NFL great Michael Strahan, who joins Ripa as a new permanent co-host following Regis Philbin's departure last November.
Ripa began Tuesday's new episode of "Live!" - now "Live! With Kelly & Michael" - solo, taking a moment to tease that the show has found its new guy, and to thank the audience for sticking with the morning show over the past several months.
"I’ve really been very fortunate, I’ve sat next to so many talented people," Ripa said of the hunt for a new host. "I have enjoyed every single solitary person except for, like, one," she quipped. "Now it is time for a new era of our show to begin."
A beaming Michael Strahan then walked down a red carpet, greeted by confetti and a bear hug from Ripa. As the two gushed over one another, Ripa joked, "We’re like that insane couple from 'The Bachelor.'"
"I adore you," Strahan told his new co-worker. "I’m so happy to be here and a part of this. You know how you say it’s a dream come true, I truly can’t say that because I didn’t even know I could dream this."
Michael Strahan joins 'Live!'
Showbiz Tonight is there as Michael Strahan is announced as Kelly Ripa's new co-host on "Live!"
Before Michael Strahan got the job on 'LIVE!'
Back in May, Michael Strahan told Showbiz Tonight that he could still be a sports commentator and host 'LIVE! with Kelly!'
Venerated host Philbin, Strahan continued, "set the benchmark for so many people. I am in awe of him."
The hints that it was going to be Strahan were coming on strong toward the end of August, and the former football star said "it’s been hard" not to spill the beans.
"Live!" fans - were you happy to see they went with Strahan as the new co-host?
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