In probably a surprising move, Disney ABC Domestic Television made a huge statement on the syndicated network’s flagship program LIVE with Kelly Ripa. Former New York Giants football star Michael Strahan has replaced Regis Philbin in the co-host chair next to Kelly Ripa.
Yes, the 40 year old still looks like he could chase down a few running backs FOX NFL Sunday personality is the next co-host of the daytime program. Which would be the first time an African American gets a full time role on this important ABC show.
The network could be following a trend on daytime television finally understanding that after the genre lost a huge asset in the Oprah Winfrey show ending and that to put more color on the screen is a solid strategy. Oprah Winfrey shows mainstream viewers that African American people on television is no longer a scary proposition.
For many years networks were concerned about white viewers and their reaction to seeing black faces on television until Bryant Gumbel broke the mold on the Today Show. Since then it has still been a challenge for network executives to put faces of color on screen beyond Oprah but that seems to be changing. With Michael Strahan, the media hype behind Steve Harvey’s new daytime show, placing that program before or after Ellen DeGeneres is an important positioning for that program.
With the changing focus in America today highlighting true melting pot, putting persons of color in front of the camera is no longer taboo. Take NBC, the network that cheered about diversity in the past with no action forward and that company’s solid effort to use more faces of color on their network and cable programming. An important foundation and ABC seems to be following suit.
Michael Strahan’s integration in to LIVE with Kelly Ripa was announced on the show this morning So Michael Strahan will be a very busy guy as you can expect that for programming reasons both ABC and FOX Sports will enjoy the cross promoting of Michael Strahan’s brand throughout both networks.