After months of speculation, Kelly Ripa finally announced her new LIVE! host -- former NFL star Michael Strahan.

    "Before I bring him out, I just want to take a minute, sincerely from the bottom of my heart, to thank all of you. You stood by us. You're the best audience. I'm not kidding. I love you guys. I really appreciate all of your input during our co-host search. It's time for a new era of our show to begin," Ripa told her audience.

Strahan was showered with confetti as he took the stage and said:

    "I'm speechless. I am so happy to be here. You know how they say it's a dream come true? I truly can't say this, because I didn't know I could dream this."

Strahan's new job was leaked last month by Broadcasting & Cable. LIVE! producers tried out many other co-hosts after Regis Philbin left the show -- Nick Lachey, Josh Groban, Ripa's hubby Mark Consuelos, Jerry O'Connell, Anderson Cooper, and Seth Meyers all filled the seat next to Kelly since November 2011.

Strahan, who is currently dating Eddie Murphy's ex Nicole Murphy, first tried out for the early morning spot back in June.