“Live! With Regis and Kelly” morning man Regis Philbin announced on Tuesday morning’s (1/18) show he is retiring from the show at the end of the year. Philbin, 79, has hosted the show for over 25 years, most recently with Kelly Ripa and previously with Kathie Lee Gifford. It began as a local morning show in New York in 1983. Philbin said he would step down around the end of the summer, but no specific date was given.
“I don’t want to alarm anybody,” Philbin said. “This will be my last year on the show. It’s been a long time. It’s been 28 years…and it was the biggest thrill of my life to come back to New York, where I grew up as a kid watching TV in the early days, you know, never even dreaming that I would one day have the ability, or whatever it takes, to get in front of the camera and talk to it…There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera — especially certain old people!”
“It has been my great honor to work with Regis since the Walt Disney Company nationally syndicated ‘LIVE’ in 1988,” said Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television. “Regis is one of the great, iconic television personalities of our time and we couldn’t have asked for a better friend and partner over the years. We will all certainly miss having Regis be a part of our day.”
The “LIVE” franchise will continue, and in the coming months Disney-ABC Television Group will name a new co-host to join Ripa – who celebrates 10 years co-hosting with the show, next month.
In the coming months, “LIVE” will welcome top guests and feature special segments, all part of the countdown to the spectacular farewell celebration for Regis.
Philbin started hosting talkers in 1962 when he filled in for Steve Allen on the “Tonight Show.” The short-lived “That Regis Philbin Show” followed in 1964, and there were over a dozen shows afterward, including hosting his own self-titled show out of San Diego from 1961-1965. He served as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on “The Joey Bishop Show” and took “A.M. Los Angeles” from low ratings to No. 1 in its local market.
Philbin was then paired with Kathie Lee Johnson (later Giffiord), and the the syndicated “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee” was born. It continued its popularity after Kathie Lee left the show (over personal issues and the child labor issue behind her clothing line) and was replaced with soap opera star Kelly Ripa.
“I think I can only speak for America and all of us here,” Ripa replied, “when I say it has been a pleasure and a privilege and a dream come true. And I wish I could do something to make you change your mind.”