In a stunning announcement on Jan. 18, 2011, Regis Philbin told Kelly Ripa, the studio audience and America that this will be his last season on Live With Regis and Kelly. He has been doing the show for 28 years and has been a charismatic, steady, and embraced morning television personality during that time. Ripa seemed saddened and surprised, wishing she could retain her co-host for longer.
Regis Philbin has captured America’s attention over the years and stood the test of time. Retaining a spot in morning television for almost 30 years is quite a feat in itself and even more impressive for a single person to do during that duration. Philbin has been an open, honest individual as a television personality, allowing humor and feistiness when appropriate, as well as kindness, concern and compassion when needed to famous people or everyday Americans.
Regis first entered our living rooms with co-host Kathy Lee Gifford when their show, Live With Regis and Kathy Lee, aired nationally for the first time in 1988. Their best-friends banter was entertaining, with each of them not afraid to pick on, embrace, argue with, or simply enjoy each other’s company. Gifford left the show in 2000 to pursue other opportunities, which left a co-host opening for the show.
During the 2000-2001 season, the show was name Live With Regis, and he won a Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Philbin has quick wit, a city attitude, and an unmistakable accent, all with a welcoming and warm personality that needed a suitable co-host who , quite frankly, could keep up with him. Regis was a seasoned television personality with experience interviewing all types of people, keeping them on their toes, quick to react when he needed to be on his toes, and most of the time got the last laugh.
After a number of on-show interviews and trial runs with women interested in the position, a sassy girl from a hit soap opera by the name of Kelly Ripa convinced Regis she could hold her own with and against Philbin. The show, aptly named Live With Regis and Kelly, arrived.
One thing that was especially admirable about Regis is how frequently he talked about his wife, Joy Philbin. Whether he spoke about a vacation, a night out in New York City, a squabble at home, a family gathering or a night to themselves, the tenderness and compassion in his voice for his lovely wife came directly through. She was occasionally a guest co-host on the show with Regis, and didn’t miss a beat.
Philbin had two other major announcements during his time as a co-host. In 2007, he announced he was having heart bypass surgery, and then in 2009 he announced he was having hip replacement surgery. America returned that compassion and concern during these two events in his life, welcoming him back to the show with enthusiasm and relief that he recovered well in each situation.
Philbin has been and will continue to be embraced by morning television audiences until the end of his run on Live With Regis and Kelly. America will miss his full-of-life charisma and charm, but will be thankful for the mark he made in our hearts and minds.
Personal Experience Viewing Live With Regis and Kelly