Live with Regis and Kelly: Can the Show Survive Without Regis Philbin?

Regis Philbin retiringRegis Philbin, a man who’s logged nearly 17,000 hours on the air, has announced that he’s leaving Live with Regis and Kelly. He’s been with the show since it began in 1983. After all this time, could the show possibly continue with another male co-host?

Originally known as The Morning Show, it began as a local program in New York on WABC-TV. Philbin and Cyndy Garvey were the initial hosts and had worked together on a similar program on the West Coast called A.M. Los Angeles. Garvey was replaced by Ann Abernathy who was then replaced by Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford). It was at this point that the show really took off in the ratings. In September 1988, it was under the name Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.

After 12 years, Gifford decided to depart from the show in an effort to pursue her singing career and spend more time with her family. For most of 2000-2001, the show experimented with various guests co-hosting with Philbin. Soap star Kelly Ripa (All My Children) stuck out as a favorite and has been matching wits with Philbin for 10 years now.

While the ladies on the show have changed, Philbin has been a constant, save numerous vacation days and breaks for his health, like a blood clot being removed from his leg, hip replacement surgery, and triple heart bypass surgery. Still, Philbin’s decision to leave comes as a bit of a surprise. The energetic and irascible host will be walking away from a salary of an estimated $15 million a year.

On yesterday’s show, he told viewers, “This will be my last year on this show…. It was the biggest thrill of my life… There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera, especially certain old people.” Today, he fired his agent of 30 years, Paradigm’s Jim Griffin.

Disney, which distributes Live with Regis and Kelly, has several months to find a replacement for Philbin. There are certainly many to choose from as lots of interesting prospects have sat next to Ripa over the years. It remains to be seen if Ripa’s name will get top billing with a new pairing.

What do you think? Can the show survive without Philbin? If so, who should replace him?

37 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. emaegf says

    Our local station that carries this show just announced they are dropping it come September 6. Ratings must have dropped.

  2. Lucy Pacacha says

    I miss Regis. He was the glue to that show. I cannot believe that he was not asked to be a guest since he left. Good for Rachael Ray for having him as a guest quite often. No more watching that show even though Michael is very good.

  3. Patrice Baker says

    I love Kelly’s personality, she is witty and very funny, the older generation 50 and older probably will not get her but today’s middle class moms, as I am don’t see her as self absorbed that is her way of relating to the conversations I actually did a search on my ipads Direct tv app., so I could have a little laugh time a day. She is very Intelligent and in her sence of humor some will get and some will not and may be annoyed more than anything. I love the mix where she allows people to look at her like she is a dumb blond through her sence of humor and her willingness to just have fun. I think she is uplifting and love how she tries to get people to losen up and just have fun with it. She is not self absorbed and there is nothing wrong with being real and not afraid to talk about your own life with the public.

  4. Myrtle Pietsch says

    Kelly is clever and runs the show well, BUT choose wisely for a co-host and lose viewers (like me). Lachey is one on that list! A lot of others already have shows or tour. It could stay as it is with someone different each week.
    Kelly uses “a little girl voice” when some folk are interviewed. It is not necessary to ingratiate oneself.
    I watched Regis for years and expecially enjoyed his story telling. An event could provide a crisis and his innocence was endearing.
    I like Michael Strahan in case you wonder.

    Myrtle Pietsch (suddenly a critic!)

  5. Dee says

    The show is not the same without Regis. Kelly is too self absorbed, everything is about her, her children, her boobs, her weight her looks. Some of that may be cute but in excess it is exhausting. You need something new for this time slot. And not a reality show!!

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