Strahan's new gig had been rumored for weeks, but was officially confirmed by Ripa on the show Tuesday morning.
"I've really been very fortunate. I've sat next to so many talented people," said Ripa, who has had about 60 guest co-hosts since Regis Philbin retired in November. "Now it's time for a new era of our show to begin."
Strahan entered the set from a limo on the street via a red carpet and immediately embraced Ripa, as a backdrop was unveiled to reveal the new name of the morning show: Live! With Kelly and Michael.
"I'm speechless," the former NFL player said, calling the co-hosting spot "a dream come true" and referring to Ripa as his new "TV wife" before handing her a dozen roses. (In real life, Strahan is engaged to Eddie Murphy's ex-wife, Nicole Murphy.)
"I know that he could bench-press me if he wanted to," the diminutive Ripa said, after telling Strahan, "you're just such a great addition to our show."
Strahan made his first appearance on the show in 2008, as a guest after he won the Super Bowl with the New York Giants. At the time, when Philbin asked about his future plans, Strahan quipped that he'd like to take over Philbin's gig.
"I was joking, but I'm glad the joke came true," Strahan said Tuesday. "Regis, he set the benchmark for so many people. ... I admire him and if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be sitting here."