Anyone that watches morning television like The Today Show or any other the news-related programs (excluding The View and all the terrible round-table forums) assuredly watches what was once Live with Regis and Kelly. When Kelly Ripa came on it wasn’t clear at first whether she had the staying power to keep a show alive that had just lost controversial co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. But something happened. Ripa took over the show and became more interesting, charming, and fun than Regis Philbin. Regis looked and sounded more his age while the younger Kelly was just the shot of energy that the show needed to keep its loyal fans.
When Regis Philbin was set to leave the show there was doubt as to who the right successor would be. While Regis had lost a step, he was still a lovable character with enough wit and wisdom to keep us tuned in. The three names that ended up being the most talked about after the several different “guest appearances” that were really just trial runs for prospective hosts were Michael Strahan, Josh Groban, and Seth Meyers.
Two candidates had popularity in New York, Strahan as an All-Pro defensive end with the New York Giants and Meyers as longtime faux news anchor on Saturday Night Live, so it was obvious that there might be a real conundrum over the choosing of the next co-host for Kelly Ripa. Groban was eventually cast aside leaving just the two in contention. But what happened next was strange to me, Michael Strahan was chosen. Now, it seems like the brass at Live! with Kelly and Michael really knew what they were doing. While Kelly and Seth had great chemistry and Meyers initially appeared more comfortable on set than Strahan, Michael has really proven himself as a great TV personality and reporter/interviewer via his work at The White House (among other quality work).
Michael Strahan has at first glance provides three things that Seth Meyers wasn’t able to bring to the table; he’s a black, popular athlete, with a big, manly personality. Certain reports in The New York Times Page 6 might argue how manly Strahan is (with reports of Strahan being a “down-low brother”), but he has been a great host and a relatable character. His celebrity is more a product of the show than his Subway commercials prior to his current gig and thus the stories he tells about his life before and after joining the show are both endearing and believable for us non-celebrities. There’s a point of not holding back without getting too out of hand that Michael adds to the show on a daily basis. It’s like he knows exactly how to toe the line in every conversation while managing to add levity to gruesome topics. And that’s saying something, because Kelly Ripa is a funny girl.
Seth Meyers also happened to come out of his situation on the right end of things. Meyers wasn’t able to grab the reins on a well-known daily morning show as a host, so instead he got the post in the same position on a nightly variety show that fits his strengths very well. When Jay Leno decided it was time to get out and retire, Jimmy Fallon had been tabbed to replace him as successor. With Fallon’s spot open as a early version of the late show, Meyers stepped right in for what is now known as Late Night With Seth Meyers. As one of the main writers for both Weekend Update and Saturday Night Live as a whole, Meyers knew a thing or two about making people laugh well past their bedtime. Much like Strahan, Meyers has thrived in his new digs and shown was made him such a viable option for the morning show with Kelly.
As a result, both programs are doing well and have kept their allegiance of followers. Strahan continues to be a particularly interesting personality for all viewers while maintaining a separate job with FOX Sports as a football commentator. The future is bright for however long Michael intends on sticking around. Seth Meyers has also found early success and while a few different short-termed late night talk show hosts haven’t lasted very long, it looks as though he will have a chance of what the duration will be.