After 28 years making daytime TV just a bit less shitty, Regis Philbin announced today that he’ll be stepping down from his spot on Live with Regis and Kelly, reports the AP. Regis didn’t specify an exact date, but that it would be some time at the end of the summer. Commenting on the departure, Regis stated, “I don’t want to alarm anybody. This will be my last year on the show. It’s been a long time, it’s been 28 years. 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!” Disney/ABC noted that someone will be named to replace Regis as co-host to Kelly Ripa. Ripa is Regis’ latest sidekick and will be marking ten years in the role since Kathie Lee Gifford left.
Since I’m a working stiff, I haven’t been what one would call a regular viewer of the show in many years. But I do remember Live with Regis and Kathie Lee taking over back in the day for the long moribund, The Wil Shriner Show around 20 years or so ago. I could catch Live from time to time and enjoy Regis’ antics. It’s always fun to see him get a regular helping of crap or an backhanded comment from Letterman on The Late Show as well. Regis also found success in primetime in the late ’90s with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Although it was hugely successful, ABC quickly sucked it dry like a starving Daybreaker by stripping it three or four nights a week. That show was tolerable for about five minutes due to the insufferable pauses and the need for every Joe Blow to tell his life story with every single answer. But Regis did add his considerable charm to the experience.
Subsequently, recent fellow retiree, Larry King, commented that he’d be up for replacing Regis for a bit: “I would sit in for him for a few weeks,“ says THR. “I would get a kick out of that,” added King, 77. I would do that in a minute. He’s a special guy,” he says of Philbin. “Nothing is forever… we’re going to miss him.”