Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Regis Philbin Is Leaving Live!

So long, Regis.

After 28 years and three different co-hosts, Regis Philbin says this will be his last season on his morning talk show – the program currently known as Live! with Regis and Kelly.

"It's been a long time, it's been 28 years since I've been here. And it was the biggest thrill of my life," Philbin, who will turn 80 in August, said on the program Tuesday morning.

He added jokingly: "Everything must come to an end for certain people on camera, especially certain old people."

Philbin's program began in 1983 as The Morning Show, a local New York City broadcast which he co-hosted with Cyndy Garvey. Kathie Lee Gifford replaced Garvey in 1985, and the show, renamed Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, went national in 1988.

Gifford left in 2000, and the show became Live with Regis for a season. It was renamed in 2001, when current co-host Kelly Ripa joined full-time.

"I think I can only speak for America, and all of us here, when I say it has been a pleasure and a privilege and a dream come true [working with you]," Ripa told Philbin on Tuesday. "And I wish I could do something to change your mind."

Sure, Regis Philbin is irreplaceable. But for the sake of argument, who could potentially fill his shoes when he retires from Live! with Regis and Kelly at the end of this season?

Mark Consuelos and Jeff Probst are possibilities. Both have guest-hosted in Philbin's absence, and Consuelos would have an easy time lobbying for the job – as he's married to current co-host Kelly Ripa.

Some other fun choices: comedian Kathy Griffin, who energizes any talk show she's on; Project Runway's Tim Gunn, who's a friend of the show; and Nick Cannon, who currently hosts his own morning radio program in New York City.

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