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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 }

Betty Granholm December 6, 2011 at 9:00 am

I’ve tuned in every day since Regis left and I really miss Regis. You just can’t replace Regis’ stories and smooth way. He was so natural and funny and really helped Kelly be good but I don’t see it any longer. I really hate that because I really liked this show….especially host chat but it has not held my interest since it is Live with Kelly.

I really wanted to like it but I don’t.

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Nonnie December 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

When Kelly started as Regis co-host, I thought what a breath of fresh air. What a shame she became so arrogant. I stopped watching the show when Kelly was so condescending towards Regis. Miss Kelly and Gilman should stop and think where they would be today without Regis. He has made them and they seem to forget that. Someday they will be older and what goes around comes around.

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suzanne downing November 30, 2011 at 7:40 am

please anybody but neil patrick harris. how about dana garvey?

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Merryl Garley November 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

Just not the same without Regis. I can find other things to do now.

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merryl garley November 29, 2011 at 9:14 am

Not the same, sorry . Miss Regis. Mornings not the same.

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Jamie Yelverton November 28, 2011 at 11:33 am

The show just isn’t the same without Regis. I’ve tried to tune in but bored with it. Guess I’m not going to watch anymore. It was a good run!

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Reba Warren November 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Kathie Lee should be host on LIVE. I LOVE Kathie Lee…..never watched Live after she left. The show will not make the rating with Kelly. She tries to ACT like Kathie Lee but there’s only ONE Kathie Lee. I was disturbed today when that guy gave Kellie the guitar he was playing instead of Regis. Why didn’t he give it to Regis? HE is the one who makes that show and is the one who is leaving.

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Brian October 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Well Anderson Cooper has his own talkshow so he is out, Jeff Probst has a show starting in Fall 2012 as does Katie Courac. So I would say cancell the show, look at ABC daytime scheduel as a whole. All the soaps will be gone, Oprah is gone all thats left is GMA. At leasr I will get to attend one of his last shows.

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Dolly September 6, 2011 at 6:34 am

We will miss Regis . Kelly makes everything about Kelly even when the guests are being interviewed and She constantly ridicules him and this does not seem to always be in jest . It gets very uncomfortable for the viewer. We will not be continuing to see the show when Regis leaves.

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Lilly July 5, 2011 at 7:19 am

When Regis leaves its over , will not watch the show . I like Regis and tried to watch it several times , Never liked Kelly for Regis , I never saw the compatibiliy
and she really is annoying .

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christine July 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

Yes if she gets her husband to co-host because they have great chemistry together!

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Carrie April 8, 2011 at 8:04 am

I vote for Kelly’s husband Mark…Or Russell Brand if he isn’t too busy. He was great but he did seem to push Kelly into the background…At least Mark would have time to do the show…

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Carol March 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm

There isn’t a show without Regis. I am not a Kelly Ripa fan. I will stop watching when Regis leaves, just as I do not watch now when he’s away.

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john boone January 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

Tell ripa the end is near!

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Lessy January 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I really think ABC should re-think their negotiating strategy. C’mon, how many more years would Regis really be around. Is there an ounce of integrity in the business. With all due respect, Kelly cannot carry the show. The show is Regis….any replacement would need the right personality, and please don’t try to replace Regis. He cannot be replaced. I’m know I’m hoping against the hopeless, fix things with Regis. What the show is lacking is up to date programming….look at the executive producer, Gilman. The show has great chemistry….try fixing what is broken.

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EZ Flood Mold Restoration March 31, 2011 at 6:31 am

The real reason Kathie Lee Gifford left was because her husband was caught cheating on her and the public humiliation was so great she had to leave I would have done the same thing if I were her

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