Regis Says Goodbye? Oh Gelman, Say It Isn’t So!


If you caught this morning’s “Live with Regis and Kelly,” you already heard the news right from the horse’s mouth. Regis Philbin announced today that he will be retiring at the end of this season.

The Associate Press recorded Philbin’s words as follows: “I don’t want to alarm anybody. This will be my last year on the show. It’s been a long time. It’s been 28 years and it was the biggest thrill of my life to come back to New York, where I grew up as a kid watching TV in the early days, you know, never even dreaming that I would one day have the ability, or whatever it takes, to get in front of the camera and talk to it.”

Now once the poignant realization blows over of Philbin’s departure, you know as sure as Kelly Ripa has an underlying concern about her own daytime chit-chat future, critics and commentators will roll in with their one-two blows at the 79 year old broadcast veteran with comments such as, “It’s about time.” Well before you think you’re the first one to say he’s over the hill – to say the least – Regis has already begun being a good sport about his age-to-retirement ratio, adding, “There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera — especially certain old people!” to today’s farewell speech.

What happened in 2010 that made our big wigs in the talk show world ultimately decide to take that plunge and step down? First, the queen of media, Oprah Winfrey, shuts down her talk show, then Larry King bounces, now Regis is pulling the plug? Well, I guess when you’re pushing 80… if there’s a plug to be pulled, it’s probably best that you’re the one doing the tugging and not the other way around? This retirement trend has hit Chicago, Los Angeles, and now New York. Who’s next? I’d say David Letterman, but I believe it states in his contract, “If Dave’s heart is a beatin’… CBS is a feedin’.”

According to the AP, Regis Philbin began his career in television predominantly bouncing around local stations in the 1950s. He won national exposure in 1967 as the announcer and sidekick on comedian Joey Bishop’s short-lived ABC late-night show. Philbin then became a star in local morning television in Los Angeles and then later on in 1983 in New York. In 1985, he teamed up with Kathie Lee Johnson (a year before she married former football star Frank Gifford) putting their show in national syndication in 1988 which of course accomplished two things: Truly making his career what it is today; and allowing America to know way more than they ever wanted to know about Kathy Lee’s kids.

After Philbin landed the host role on ABC’s rating phenomenon, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” the three-time Emmy Award winner was honored in 2008 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

It has been quite the journey for Philbin and you have to admit, there will probably never be another Regis. No seriously, have you ever met another “Regis?” Yeah, me neither. Well, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I ended on a solemn note and didn’t give the media king a little crap. So, without further adieu, enjoy the video below highlighting Regis’ phone skills.

(Image from Disney-ABC Domestic Television)

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