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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?

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Smith January 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

No, I don’t think that the show will last without Regis. I can’t explain exactly why, but; Regis makes the show. ( I like his “senior moments”)
Kelly always wants to take over when there is a guest host, she does not let the guest host “do their thing”. Rigis does not let that happen when he is there.

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Carole Radford January 23, 2011 at 7:33 am

Regarding a replacement for Regis…anybody but Ashton Kutcher. Regarding the show itself…it seems to have been reduced to nothing more than “hyping” someone’s new book, movie or personal appearance schedule…it just seems to have become a glorified form of advertising and has no “substance”.

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Pat January 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I think they need to find someone with Regis’ personality… Someone older than Kelly who isn’t “with it” regarding technology. This is one of the things that made R&K so funny. The way she responds to his ignorance while keeping it respectful.

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Greg January 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I thought Anderson Cooper might be OK as well, but turns out he’s gay (as in Neil Patrick Harris) so there wouldn’t be the usual back-and-forth with Kelly that we’re used to seeing. It would just be weak. I don’t have a better candidate, but I do hope it’s neither of those.

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judee January 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I can’t stand Regis and his attitude therefore I did not watch or enjoy the show. Anderson Cooper or Kelly’s husband would be a good replacement. Won’t watch until they find someone worth while, that certainly does not include Neil Patrick Harris or Ashton Kutcher!
Someone with brains as well as good looks.

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Connie January 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

I think they should just cancel the show as respect to Regis!!!!!!!!!! Kelly isn’t all that great Regis carried her!!!!!!!!!

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GAYLE January 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

yES i THINK THEY CAN REPLACE REGIS, THEY JUST NEED TO FIND SOMEONE THAT CLICKS WITH KELLY. i AM SURE THAT THEY CAN HAVE SUBSTITUTE HOSTS UNTIL THEY FIND SOMEONE SPECIAL!!! NONE OF THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE MENTIONED ARE THE RIGHT ONES!!! ASHTON kUTCHER WAS ON TODAY, HE MAY BE GOOD, BUT I THINK SOMEONE THAT IS REALLY FUNNY WOULD BE BETTER.

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Matt January 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I vote for Neil Patrick Harris as a co-host. He has guest hosted many times and him and Kelly have excellent chemistry together.

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Maggie May January 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I think the show should quietly come to an end. Regis created it and enjoyed and celebrated it’s longevity and populartity. Now he should have the honor to see it to the end. No one can really successfully replace the “king”..not for the long run anyways….Just saying !

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Jean January 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I only watched the show sporatically, I’m not a fan of Kelly Ripa. Anderson Cooper would be a great replacement. As long a Kelly Ripa isn’t the main host, I’ll keep watching from time to time.

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Rena Ihnen January 21, 2011 at 11:19 am

Please do not entertain the idea of Jeff Gordan or Jeff Probst. Am avid watcher..like forever and only these two have made the show uninteresting. Kelly is excellent and needs a co-host with a sense of humor, great conversationalist to keep the show interesting as well as entertaining. This will make your ratings soar. Would leave a big void in my life if the show left the air . This would only happen if the co-host were boring such as the two mentioned above. They excel in their field which is not co-hosting.
Sincerely, Rena Ihnen.

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Mark Watson January 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Following more than 23-+ years and approximately 17,000 episodes, Regis Philbin is retiring. Thanks for more than two decades and three years on the air.

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Faye January 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Wouldn’t Buddy Valasco “The Cake Boss” be a great replacement for Regis?

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Huh January 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Sorry, Anderson Cooper. But seriously, he gave the lohans a beating on it

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Huh January 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Get Aaron Cooper. He was really funny and honest the day(s?) he was on it

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