Why do we care so much about morning TV hosts like Kelly and Michael?

They’re like family you welcome into your home each morning …

Uh-huh. The Putin family, maybe.

OK, maybe that's a wee bit harsh. Still, the timehonored conventional wisdom about why we care so much about the hosts of popular morning TV shows like "Live with Kelly & Michael (but only until Friday!)" doesn't seem quite as conventional these days.

It wasn't so long ago that No. 1-rated "Today" promoted its hosts as "America's first family." Now, while the idea of Matt Lauer & Savannah Guthrie or Kelly Ripa & Michael Strahan as family hasn't completely gone away, it's more like they're someone else's family.

Someone’s smiling-on-the-outside, gossiping-and-scheming-on-the-inside family we kind of get a kick out of watching and gossiping about ourselves.

“That old fashioned notion of them as family still does prevail somewhat,” said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University. “But now it’s also a case of some things are going on you wouldn’t want to have happen at your own family’s Thanksgiving table.”

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