Kelly Ripa Co-Host: Could Michael Strahan Return To ‘Live’?

The Kelly Ripa co-host search continues even as rumors on the internet suggest that Michael Strahan might actually return to the seat next to Ripa on Live!

Numbers being important in media, it wouldn’t be so far-fetched to have Strahan actually return, as at least one story from the Wrap has previously observed that the former New York Giants player was actually getting “268,000 more daily viewers than Regis Philbin did” back in April of this year.

Previously the Live! With Kelly & Michael show was “the No. 2 syndicated talk show,” according to the Wrap‘s information, “… averaging a 2.8 national rating over Strahan’s entire tenure.” Strahan produced an 8 percent increase in viewers compared to the previous “four seasons of the franchise, 2007-2011, when Live! With Regis & Kelly averaged a 2.6.”

Kelly Ripa's former co-host Michael Strahan

Strahan, being the former Kelly Ripa co-host, had “proved a real TV ratings boon to the long-running franchise” per the Wrap, and the former defensive end looked like a celebrity who would bring a similarly positive ratings boost to his new ABC gig on the Good Morning America show.

But the search for the best Kelly Ripa co-host has fueled so much speculation and hope for quite some favorites, many of whom are getting new opportunities to sit next to Ripa on the morning show set.

A post from Gossip Cop on the potential for Michael Strahan to return is discussed. According to the story, the internet and tabloid gossip was “checked… with a source close to Strahan, who exclusively assured us the tabloid’s story was ‘absolutely not true.'”

But there were mistakes made in handling the departure of Strahan, an ABC television exec admitted in September. Ben Sherwood said this was so in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Shortly after Strahan wrapped “day 2” of his new GMA gig, Sherwood made the remark.

“We made some mistakes, we fixed them quickly and we moved on.”

His other comments from the interview highlight why there is such a public search and trial over new faces in the morning show race for ratings.

The Kelly Ripa co-host search continues because of the race for numbers.

Kelly Ripa stepping out

Sherwood noted the ongoing fight for ratings and underscored the need for people hosting morning shows that viewers want to watch every day.

“When GMA broke Today‘s winning streak on April 17, 2012, we knew it was going to be a battle every week with NBC and everybody else. We have been delighted that for four years Good Morning America has been the most popular morning show in total viewers and for almost that entire time the No. 1 show in the key demo. That we are back in a battle with them should come as no surprise. They’ve got a formidable team, are highly motivated and have a strong network behind them.”

And then Sherwood added that bit about his strategy.

“Our strategy has always been the same: Play like you’re 500,000 viewers behind, fight furiously for every booking, put on the most informative, surprising and entertaining program. That strategy worked for us before and it will work for us again as we bring the fight to them this fall.”

No stranger to morning show staffing drama, Katie Couric was quoted in Variety earlier this year regarding the departure of Strahan and generally addressing the Kelly Ripa-Michael Strahan situation. Couric referred to Ripa as a “consummate professional” and added another thought.

“Clearly feelings were hurt and clearly she wasn’t included in the process. Transitions are incredibly tricky, and they have to be managed carefully, especially when people have relationships with people on television. They feel like they are a part of their family. So it can be extremely sensitive.”

While the position remains vacant, viewers get to watch temporary guests filling Michael Strahan’s shoes daily, and certainly Ripa wants to find a replacement that might also boost ratings.

Who do you think Kelly Ripa’s new co-host should be?

[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Images]