Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan

"Daddy's home!" That's what Michael Strahan told Kelly Ripa after it was officially announced that he will permanently fill the co-host seat on what will now be called Live! With Kelly and Michael.

Following the duo's debut show, the new co-hosts expressed their excitement over the pairing. "It seems very second nature, and I'm so happy to be around him," said Ripa.

Strahan, the 40-year old former NFL player who guest hosted 20 times in the past two years, also shared his admiration for his new TV partner. "It is extremely hard and she made it look easy," he said of the nine-month period following Regis Philbin's departure, which saw 59 guest hosts join Ripa. "She did an incredible job — what she went through was nothing short of amazing."

Executive producer Michael Gelman admitted that making the final choice was tough, but Ripa and Strahan's witty on-screen banter was ultimately the deciding factor. "Chemistry isn't something you can put your finger on," he said. "They just had this energy."

Another plus in choosing Strahan — the hope that he'll bring in a stronger male audience as the show enters its 25th season. Ripa believes that the Fox NFL Sunday football analyst will do just that since guys will have "less shame in admitting that they watch because of the sports angle." Strahan agreed, admitting that he'll "definitely bring up the Giants" in his early-morning banter.

What else is Ripa excited about? "I'm looking forward to merchandising and branding our show," she said and suggested "Mind the Gap" as a new campaign slogan — a teasing reference to Strahan's trademark smile.

Do you think Michael Strahan is a good choice for Kelly Ripa's new co-host?

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