- - Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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

The gap-toothed former New York Giant jogged onto the morning show set and picked up co-host Kelly Ripa in a bear hug, lifting her off her feet. He replaces Mr. Philbin, who left in November. Mr. Strahan was the survivor in a series of on-air tryouts of potential co-hosts since Mr. Philbin left, and his hiring has been an open secret for the past two weeks.

Mr. Strahan appeared relaxed and amiable on his first day, and drew “ahhhs” from women in the studio audience when he presented Miss Ripa with a dozen red roses.

“It’s so nice to have a co-host literally sweep you off your feet,” Miss Ripa said, “and I know that he can bench press me if he wanted to.”

Miss Ripa played a clip of Mr. Strahan’s first appearance on the show in 2008, shortly after the Giants had won the Super Bowl. Mr. Philbin asked Mr. Strahan what he would want to do after retiring from football, and Mr. Strahan said that Mr. Philbin’s job looked pretty good.

“I was joking,” Mr. Strahan said on Tuesday, “and I’m glad the joke came true.”

Mr. Philbin was the original “Live” host for more than 28 years, with Miss Ripa joining him in 2001. Mr. Strahan said Mr. Philbin set the benchmark. “I am in awe of him,” he said.

Mr. Strahan is one of several new faces in daytime television this fall. Steve Harvey begins a new talk show Tuesday. Katie Couric, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst also have new shows starting in the next couple of weeks.

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

Before bringing Mr. Strahan out, Miss Ripa joked about the lengthy search, advising people to stop sending her resumes.

“I have enjoyed every single solitary person except for one,” she said. “The staff is laughing because they know that’s true.”

Television actress Claire Danes was the revamped show’s first guest.

Investor group buying Dick Clark Productions

Dick Clark Productions, which produces TV programs including “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and the Golden Globe Awards, is being sold to a group including investment firm Guggenheim Partners.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Selling Dick Clark Productions is private equity firm RedZone Capital Management, owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. RedZone bought the company in 2007 for $175 million.

Along with Guggenheim, other buyers include Mandalay Entertainment, whose CEO Peter Guber is a film producer and also co-owner of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, and Mosaic Media Investment Partners. Mosaic was part of a consortium that took Dick Clark Productions private in 2002.

Mandalay and Guggenheim were part of the investor group that paid $2 billion for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We are committed to providing Dick Clark Productions with the resources to continue growing its business in a way that creates value for sponsors, networks and audiences, and we look forward to energizing fans in new and innovative ways,” Mosaic Media Managing Partner Allen Shapiro said in a statement.

Dick Clark Productions went public in 1987 and grew into a large business with an array of programs and several thousand employees. When Mr. Clark suffered a stroke in 2004, his role at the company was reduced. When RedZone purchased the company in 2007, the television icon stayed connected to it only through his annual appearance on the New Year’s Eve show. Mr. Clark died of a heart attack in April at age 82.

Compiled from wire reports

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