Online Staff Report
Regis Philbin’s final episode as co-host of Live! with Regis & Kelly will air locally at 9 a.m., Friday, Nov. 18, on WTVO Channel 17.
Philbin, 80, is stepping down after more than 28 years in daily morning television, 23 of which were on Live!. He reportedly had planned to return for more seasons, but decided to move on after contract negotiations fell through.
As a lead-up to his final show, Philbin will appear with Katie Couric on ABC’s 20/20 (airing locally at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, on WTVO Channel 17) and on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman (airing locally at 10:35 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, on WIFR Channel 23).
Philbin’s departure has been in the works for months. Since the start of the season in September, Live! has been showing highlights from his run on the show. A number of big-name guests have also been featured.
After his departure, Philbin’s name will be scrapped from the show title and a series of guest co-hosts will appear with host Kelly Ripa. First among the guest co-hosts is Jerry Seinfeld Nov. 21-23. Guests scheduled for those days are Jason Segel, Kim Cattrall, Howie Mandel, Jamie Oliver and Miss Piggy.
Philbin first gained national prominence as a sidekick to late-night talk show host Joey Bishop on The Joey Bishop Show in the late 1960s. Live! originally began as The Morning Show in New York in 1983, with Philbin co-hosting with Cindy Garvey. Garvey left after one year and was replaced by Ann Abernathy, who was replaced by Kathy Lee Gifford in 1985. Gifford remained on the show until 2000, and then was replaced by Ripa in February 2001.
Philbin — who owns the Guinness World Record for most hours spent before a TV camera — also spent part of his 28 years on television working in prime time, most notably hosting the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire from 1999 to 2002. He has also hosted other game shows, appeared in guest roles on other TV shows, appeared in movies, recorded music albums, and written or co-written multiple books.