Michael Strahan, former New York Giants defensive end, has officially joined the newly retitled Live With Kelly & Michael as Kelly Ripa‘s new co-host. Former NFL player Michael Strahan was officially welcomed to the show on Tuesday to step into the big shoes of previous co-host Regis Philbin.

Since Regis Philbin announced his retirement from the show, Kelly Ripa and show producers have been on the hunt for a new Live With Kelly co-host. After nine months of tryouts, Michael Strahan, who guest hosted the show 20 times, was selected as the perfect co-host for Kelly Ripa.

Over 50 substitute co-hosts were featured on the show, although not all of them were actually auditioning for the part. Of all of them, executive producer Michael Gelman said Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan just had that special chemistry.

“They’re able to have this fun, and they have a shorthand together, and it just works,” Gelman said, according to USAToday.com. “Having him come back all these times made it easier.”

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan hugged as she officially introduced him on Live With Kelly & Michael on Tuesday. “Now it’s time for the new era of our show to begin,” Ripa said. “It’s so nice to have a co-host who can literally sweep you off your feet. (And she means literally, since he proved he could do just that!)

Michael Strahan says his chemistry with Kelly Ripa is the real deal. “You can’t get on live TV every morning and fool people. We’re two people who can laugh at themselves and laugh at each other,” he said.

Oddly enough, Michael Strahan once joked about taking Regis Philbin’s job someday in his first appearance on Live back in February, 2008. “It was like a prophecy,” Ripa said on Tuesday.

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