YouTube boy makes good: Michael Buckley wins Live With Kelly challenge

From thousands of applicants, YouTube (s GOOG) star Michael Buckley has emerged triumphant in the Live With Kelly co-host challenge, winning the grand prize during last Friday’s broadcast.
That’s right — What the Buck is the new Regis. Well, just for next Tuesday.
Since Philbin left the iconic morning talk show last fall, Kelly Ripa has been joined by a wide range of co-hosts on the now-titled Live With Kelly. And while the official search is narrowing in on football players and crooners, to spice things up the show opened up a competition for one lucky viewer to guest-host the show with Ripa on July 24th — provided, of course, they could make it through several rounds of elimination, and a number of crazy challenges.
Buckley won the seat after a week of on-air competitions, capped off with a green screen challenge featuring him and Ripa improvising their way through a variety of scenarios.
Buck recapped the challenge on Twitter as follows:

While the studio audience determined the final winner of the co-host challenge, online voting helped push him through the final round, with Buckley reminding his over 600,000 Twitter followers to vote — and posting behind-the-scenes videos of his experience for his nearly 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers.
Even beyond the social media push, though, Buckley’s win almost seemed inevitable, thanks to the clear advantage he had over other competitors. While this competition was clearly geared towards discovering unknown talent, Buckley can hardly be considered as such, having honed his gift for connecting with audiences over the last several years. The Live With Kelly press release announcing his victory even makes mention of What the Buck.
It comes down to this: In 2007, this story would have been big news for the online video world — today, it’s another happy example of the bleed currently taking place between digital and traditional media. From iJustine to The Young Turks, we’re seeing talent recognized as talent, no matter where it originates. Buckley’s situation is just that.
There’s no official word on whether Buckley’s guest host stint will extend or recur past next Tuesday. But Live With Kelly could do a whole lot worse.