After announcing on-air Tuesday that he would be retiring from “Live with Regis and Kelly,” Regis Philbin spent part of this morning’s show quashing rumors.
“No, I’m not sick,” Philbin, 79, announced.
He went through clippings of stories about his departure, which is expected at the end of the summer. “I don’t want to get morbid about this but I almost felt like I was looking at my obituary,” he said.
One area he didn’t touch on were reports that he blindsided his co-host Kelly Ripa with the news, only telling her 15 minutes before going on air. (That’s what TMZ is for.)
Some reports took the who-knew-when situation one step further in quoting Regis’ former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford saying she knew weeks in advance.
“We try to have dinner like every six weeks or something, and the last couple of times that we had dinner he was talking very openly with me about it,” Gifford told Access Hollywood. “He said, ‘I think it’s going to be at the end of this contract year,’ which would be September 2011, so that’s exactly what it’s going to be.”
Ripa issued a statement Tuesday: “While I realize that nothing is forever, still I had always hoped there would be an exception…I can’t overstate what Regis has brought to the table.”
‘Live!’ executive producer Michael Gelman also weighed in. “Not only is he a broadcast legend, he’s been my friend, mentor and coworker for 28 years,” he said in a statement. “I understand how after his 50-plus years in front of the camera, waking up early day after day, he’s ready to step back from the daily grind.”
“We’ll all miss him,” Gelman added. “There’s no one like Regis.”
Gifford has already suggested “Survivor” host Jeff Probst to fill his spot. And on Wednesday, Ripa joked: “I heard 50 Cent!”
Who do you think should step in for Reege? Will you miss Regis or do you think it was time for him to go? Comment below.
Regis Philbin Announces He’s Leaving “Regis and Kelly”