JUST a month after joining “Good Morning America,” Michael Strahan is already throwing his weight around – telling producers he wants to do some serious news reporting and not be relegated to the role of set joker like the rival “Today” show’s Al Roker, say sources.
Football Hall of Famer Strahan, 42, has become a hot property on morning TV since replacing Regis Philbin as Kelly Ripa’s co-host on “Live!” Ratings have soared and the program is now battling “Dr. Phil” to become the most watched daytime talk show.
ABC scored a major coup when it wrangled Strahan into joining its “GMA” team part time while remaining on “Live!”. But since his April 15 debut, the former New York Giants star has frequently been used for lighthearted banter because of his sharp wit.
“Michael thinks they want him on the morning news just to be funny, crack a few jokes and lighten the mood,” an insider told The ENQUIRER.
“He believes they see him as their Al Roker.”
While Roker can deftly handle major news – and recently interviewed President Obama – he often provides comic relief on the “Today” show set.
Strahan doesn’t want to be perceived as a lightweight, which he feels happened to his football teammate Tiki Barber when he joined “Today” in 2007 as a correspondent, said the source.
Tiki fizzled out after three years because “he really didn’t get anything important to do on the show,” according to the insider. “Michael doesn’t want to end up like that.”
Fortunately, Strahan has a strong supporter in “GMA” host Robin Roberts, who had a long career in sports broadcasting before going mainstream.
“Robin showed she is excellent at being a serious newswoman, but she had to beat the doubters first,” said a close source.
“Now she’s telling producers that Michael is very intelligent and should be included when they talk about big news events on the show.”
But if Strahan feels he isn’t being used properly, the source believes he won’t be afraid to walk.
“After all,” said the source, “he doesn’t want to become a clone of Al Roker.”