Michael Strahan becomes Kelly Ripa's co-host

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NEW YORK — Former football star Michael Strahan joined “Live! With Kelly” as permanent co-host on Monday, fulfilling a joking prophecy he made to Regis Philbin more than four years ago.

The gap-toothed former New York Giant replaces Philbin, who left last November. Strahan was the survivor in a series of on-air tryouts of potential co-hosts since Philbin left, and his hiring has been an open secret for the past two weeks.

Philbin was the original “Live!” host for more than 28 years, with Ripa joining him in 2001.

Strahan, currently a host of “Fox NFL Sunday,” towers over his co-host, who barely reaches his shoulders when they stand next to each other. When they sit together, the seats are adjusted to minimize the difference.

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