theGrio’s 100: Michael Strahan, sacking the talk show competition

Michael Strahan speaks onstage during Usher's New Look Foundation 2012 World Leadership conference on June 20, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Usher's New Look Foundation)

Michael Strahan speaks onstage during Usher's New Look Foundation 2012 World Leadership conference on June 20, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Usher's New Look Foundation)

Who is Michael Strahan?

Michael Strahan, 41, became an NFL superstar after his likely Hall of Fame 14-year career with the New York Giants. As an explosive defensive end, he set the record for most sacks in a single season back in 2001 (22.5), a record that still stands to this day. He also helped his team win the coveted Super Bowl in 2007.

Since his retirement from football, Strahan has reinvented himself as a media personality, co-hosting Fox NFL Sunday and the even more high-profile syndicated talk show Live! with Kelly and Michael.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Strahan, equipped with his trademark gap-toothed grin, beat out a field of high profile contenders (including reportedly Saturday Night Live‘s Seth Meyers) to replace the legendary Regis Philbin as Kelly Ripa’s co-host on the Live! show.

His ascent to this role has not only helped modulate his image from that of a fearsome tough guy to an adorable everyman, it also marks an unprecedented shift in the look of daytime television. Along with comedian Steve Harvey, Strahan has brought a black male presence into the once purely lily-white world of daytime talk shows, which are largely tailored and marketed towards a predominately white female audience.

That Strahan has been able to fill Philbin’s shoes with relative ease and success is a significant achievement.

What’s next for Strahan?

The Houston Texas native continues to pull double duty on both Fox, where he brings comedic flair to his commentaries on each weekend’s gridiron clashes and alongside Kelly Ripa, with whom he has unlikely chemistry.

He is currently engaged to Nicole Murphy (who is best known for her previous marriage to comedian Eddie Murphy), and the couple has made headlines with their advocacy on behalf of marriage equality.

Meanwhile, this season of Live!‘s debut was the highest that program has seen in six years, which has largely been credited to Strahan’s reinvigorating presence on the program. In fact, Strahan’s show beat its closest competition (the fourth hour of NBC’s Today Show) by a whopping 87 percent.

With numbers like these, the ex-NFL star looks to be fixture on the television landscape for many years to come.

Follow Michael Strahan on Twitter at @michaelstrahan