Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Michael Strahan Is The Black Ryan Seacrest

Five years ago, if you looked up Michael Strahan on Google, it would probably say "Michael Strahan defensive prowess" or "Michael Strahan monster defensive end." Coming soon though, it'll probably say "Michael Strahan media mogul."

Who would've ever thought the Super Bowl champ would attempt to dominate television in such a short period of time? Strahan is in negotiations to host "Good Morning America" according to CNN's Brian Stelter.

Strahan is adding his male presence to "GMA"'s anchor team which is filled with a lot of estrogen after Sam Champion and Josh Elliott's respective departures. Because he has other obligations at 9 a.m. with his own talk show co-hosted by Kelly Ripa, Strahan will mostly anchor during the 7 a.m. hour.

Strahan also won't be working for five days a week. 

MY THEORY: I would imagine he'll be off on Mondays and/or Fridays due to his NFL on Fox obligations. Strahan usually hosts "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" on Monday mornings during the NFL season despite having to fly the red-eye between L.A. and NYC which suggests to many that he'll do the same with "GMA" but I'm sure it'll be much easier to come into work at 8 a.m. to be on time for his 9 a.m. show than having to come in at 6 a.m. or earlier for "GMA". 

It could also work the opposite way with "GMA" wanting Strahan in-house on Mondays (with an off-day in the middle of the week) to break down Sunday's NFL action in a watercooler-style format to give viewers some pointers on what they need to know as they go to work.

In terms of what role Strahan will play, he'll most likely take over the "Play of the Day" segment and he may tape celebrity interviews to be used for the 8 a.m. hour. I also wouldn't be surprised to see him file feature reports on inspirational stories which are trending or which "GMA" hopes to get trending.

It's very interesting and ironic how Kelly Ripa has always been the non-newsy talk show host which both morning shows pursued over the years and that her co-host ended up being the person who accepted a morning news show role. It's being reported by Deadline that Ripa was also offered a role on "GMA" but she declined (TMZ hinted that Ripa could eventually join the team).

WHY DOES "GMA" WANT STRAHAN? 1. He's a man's man. He played professional football and provides support for George Stephanopoulos. Women love to hear other women who share their point of view but something women love even more, although they won't admit it: a man's perspective (it works vice versa as well).

2. He's a voice women trust. "Kelly and Michael"'s ratings are the highest they've ever been because the ladies find Strahan very appealing to their tastes. As "GMA" continues it's struggle to keep the #1 spot vs. "Today," it's important they associate themselves with other members of the ABC family who viewers trust and already watch frequently. This is also why there is so much cross-promotion between "DWTS" and "GMA." Even though "DWTS" isn't the highest rated reality show on TV anymore it still has enough viewers and social media support to garner influence.

3. Diversity. Strahan's move assures "GMA" that they will continue to be the most diverse show on morning television: an African-American male, three women including one who is African-American and gay, a Greek male.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR "K&M"? As far as I know, "K&M" will stay the way it is. If I were ABC though, I would suggest bringing on Neil Patrick Harris and/or Anderson Cooper as the permanent once-a-week co-host/first substitute co-host on call. NPH is on Broadway while Cooper's daytime show was cancelled a while back which means both are available for the limited time needed. 

Both men have great chemistry with Ripa and maintain a regular job which means co-hosting the show for one day a week wouldn't be a big deal (as long as their employers approve). It'll give fans a sense of nostalgia back to the days when NPH and/or Cooper filled in more often and Mr. Strahan won't become too strained from all his commitments. A strained Strahan would mean a less entertaining Strahan which puts the show in jeopardy.

WHY IS STRAHAN A MEDIA MOGUL? Because this is not the end of announcements to come from the Hall-of-Famer. Strahan recently started his own entertainment production company/agency with other partners who represent people such as Tony Gonzalez (ironically, his company brokered Gonzalez's deal with Strahan's rival show, "CBS NFL Today") and Deion Sanders. The company also produced a pilot for Amazon, plans to produce other movies/TV shows and represents music artists.

Coming soon, Strahan will be executive producing and hosting a sports version of the Kids Choice Awards on Nickelodeon. He'll also be producing and hosting a primetime game show on a major broadcast network to be announced (probably ABC) according to Sports Business Journal.

WILL STRAHAN LEAVE NFL ON FOX? Only time will tell but I doubt it. Fox put him in charge of presenting the Vince Lombardi Trophy during this year's Super Bowl and they've also used him for interview specials on Fox Sports 1. Fox definitely sees a bright future with Strahan and would rather share him with ABC (just as they do with Seacrest) than lose him. 

Although if Strahan ever decides to leave Fox because of the travel distance (I doubt it'll ever work the other way around with Fox dumping Strahan), there's a four letter network with major football rights that's owned by ABC's parent company which could perfectly fit Strahan in right away.

As of now though, Strahan seems comfortable with working for Fox Sports and I would expect him to stay because he's being primed to eventually take over Terry Bradshaw's lead studio analyst role. I'm sure he also has a lot of loyalty towards Fox after they picked up his sitcom and he could probably use Fox as leverage whenever his ABC deals expire (a national 9 a.m. show on Fox doesn't impede on their current local morning news structure).

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