From designing menswear to hosting game shows, Michael Strahan is a busy man. When he’s not hosting “Good Morning America,” he can apparently be found organizing the clothing racks at JC Penney—literally. Strahan talked with Ad Age about his workload, early rising and Snoop Dogg.
You’re involved with a bunch of projects right now. How do you keep it all straight?
I’ve got a great group of people to help me—that is the key. I wake up and I have somebody say, “Go in this direction.” Then someone says, “Now switch gears, go in that direction.” But it’s all fun things I enjoy and have a real passion for—it doesn’t really feel like work.
Do you have a secret favorite?
Everything that I do—all of it—is like a dream come true. It’s all somewhat new to me, even football was new. I didn’t start until I was a senior in high school. To be on TV was new to me, to do daytime news was new to me, the fashion business was new to me. It’s all new, and because of that it makes me want to excel at it.
Had you shopped at JC Penney before they hired you?
Absolutely. Everybody shops at JC Penney! When I was a kid, you got a JC Penney catalog in the mail and it was like the lotto. I have great memories of getting that catalog as a kid, going through it and hoping to go there. To have a business that makes great products, but also, as important, is that they’re affordable for people.
When did you get into fashion yourself?
When you’re in sports, you’re already in fashion. If you ever walked into a locker room full of 60 guys getting ready for a road trip, you’d see there’s a lot of critiquing about the outfits going on. I’ve seen a lot of weird outfits—it’s a very dangerous thing to give a young man a lot of money and no fashion advice. Every day, I’m in suits and when I’m not in suits, I’m in athleisure. It’s a natural progression because it’s truly my lifestyle.
Yeah, but what’s the last thing you bought at JC Penney?
The last time I was there, I didn’t buy anything. I went in there looking at my display and saw that some things were out of place. So I was color–coordinating and putting things back together where they were supposed to be. And a guy came in. He looked at the sign, then looked at me, then asked, “Is that you? Shouldn’t somebody else be doing that?” And I said, “If you don’t take care of it yourself, no one else will.” I definitely shop there though. I have twin girls, 12 years old, and they go through stuff like you would not believe.
And what are those twins going to get you for Father’s Day?
I’m very easy. I’m happy with a Father’s Day card. I can always use more socks and underwear. We sell underwear now [with JC Penney], so they can buy me underwear with my name on it and I’ll be happy with that.
How do you find time to sleep?
Generally, I wake up at about 5 a.m. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t as bad as a lot of people—some do 2:30, 3 a.m. At first, I thought the early mornings would be really tough, but it’s actually made my life easier. There are so many things you get invited to that you feel obligated to go to: events, parties, stuff with friends. Now I have a built-in excuse.
Does the early-to-bed, early-to-rise lifestyle put a cramp in your evening TV watching?
If something comes on after 8:30, I’m probably in bed. If I do stay up late, there’s “Power” on Starz and “Billions” on Showtime. I’m also a big “Homeland” fan. Unless it’s a Sunday night in June at 10 p.m., then it’s “The $100,000 Pyramid.”
Ryan Seacrest is your replacement on “Live with Kelly.” How do you think he’s doing so far?
When they come on, I’m still in the studio, so I haven’t had a chance to watch, to be honest. But he’s a great guy and I’m glad he got the job.
Speaking of interesting people, you’re producing a new show with Snoop Dogg. What’s that like?
Yes, it’s “The Joker’s Wild,” a throwback to “The Joker’s Wild” game show. It was Snoop Dogg’s favorite growing up, and so we’re picking it up and made him a host. He’s phenomenal! He’s a legend, he’s funny, he’s the coolest guy in the room … so it should be a fun show. We shoot that in a few months.