Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Michael Strahan Will Energize Good Morning America!

Night shot of Times Square, Good Morning America

When Regis Philbin left LIVE it was “common knowledge” Kelly Ripa would be the star of the show, no matter who they brought in to team with her. Then the network found ex-NFL superstar Michael Strahan, and he hit daytime TV every bit as hard as he mauled opposing QBs in his playing days. Fans loved the congenial gap-toothed former Giant, whose easy banter and sharp wit kept them smiling and engaged.

For years, the pair worked off each other, the ultimate odd couple vibe that really worked. Then a position opened up at Good Morning America, and network honchos decided Strahan would be the perfect fit. They chose not to tell Ripa and asked for Mike to keep the secret too. He did … and she pitched an on-air fit that led to a walk-off and several-day hiatus. When Ripa returned, she walked on set arm in arm with Strahan, all hostility aside, at least for the cameras. She claimed she got her apology from the network, and all was well in LIVE world.

Lost in that whole kerfuffle was the reason why Strahan was tapped for GMA in the first place. The former LIVE co-host has already made several guest appearances on Good Morning America, and, if those were test runs, they seemed to go very well. And it’s likely Strahan will thrive in the light-hearted, happy storytelling vibe of GMA. Strahan’s brand, since transitioning from killing QBs, has been all about empowering and inspiring, and that’s exactly what he’s expected to do as a member of the Good Morning America cast. Feel good news to help people get their day going right.

Some critics are saying the network is walking a tightrope with this move, messing up the chemistry on LIVE to help bolster GMA in its fight with chief rival, Today. But, really, that’s not a huge issue. Philbin’s departure was the litmus test for LIVE. He left, and, after a bit of a lull, things started rolling. When Strahan came aboard, he didn’t save the show, but he did have a positive impact. His transition will likewise positively impact GMA without sinking LIVE. In fact, the worst thing about the transition that may damage the brand is Ripa’s tantrum, justifiable though many fans say it was. After all, her co-host was moved, and nobody even prepped her. It’s easy to understand Ripa’s frustration.

The question now becomes who will work with Kelly. It will have to be someone with a strong personality, but they’ll need a different dynamic. That’s what helped the last transition, and it should serve them well here. In the end, if both shows come out of this transition entertaining their audiences, this time next year, the kerfuffle will be all but forgotten.

David Milberg is a financial expert and investment banker in NYC.

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