The only worry on Michael Strahan’s mind when he made his entrance Tuesday as the new co-host of “Live!”: “Don’t trip,” he summed up after the show.
When Kelly Ripa introduced him, the gap-toothed former football player jogged onto the morning show set and gathered her up in a bear hug, lifting her off her feet.
“When I was hugging Kelly, that’s when I was calming down,” Strahan explained.
The rest of the hour was clearly a snap for him and for Ripa, who was getting a permanent partner nine months after Regis Philbin retired from the show.
Taking his seat on Tuesday, the former New York Giant joked that it felt “comfy, like it was molded for my body.”
Strahan was relaxed, amiable and playful, and drew “ahhhs” from women in the studio audience when he presented Ripa with a dozen red roses.
“It’s so nice to have a co-host literally sweep you off your feet,” Ripa told viewers, “and I know that he can bench press me if he wanted to.”
Strahan’s hiring has been an open secret for the past two weeks. His selection was made official a couple of minutes into what, since November, had gone by the stripped-down title “Live! With Kelly” and now rechristened “Live! With Kelly and Michael.”
Sir Paul nominated for Legion of Honor
France’s Elysee Palace has said former Beatle Paul McCartney has been nominated for the Legion of Honor for services to music.
On Tuesday, a presidential spokesman said McCartney will be decorated at the rank of officer by French President Francois Hollande in a ceremony Saturday in Paris.
McCartney, 70, will join the ranks other singers to have received the honor. Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli were similarly honored by former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The birthday bunch
Comedian-actor Bob Newhart is 83. Actress Raquel Welch is 72. Singer Loudon Wainwright III is 66. Actor Michael Keaton is 61. Actress Rose McGowan is 39. Actress Kat Graham (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 26. Olympic gold medal figure skater Kim Yu-na is 22.