Regis Philbin is leaving his morning talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” at the end of the year. The news come nearly a year after Philbin, 79, had hip replacement surgery, and three years after open heart surgery.
Philbin did not give a reason for his decision to retire.
“I don’t want to alarm anybody, but I have to tell you this because it’s going to happen,” Philbin, said today (Jan. 18) on the show. “This will be my last year on the show.”
While he declined to cite a specific reason, he suggest his age is a factor.
“There is a time when everything must come to an end for people on camera, especially for certain old people,” Philbin joked. “It has been 28 years…and what fun we’ve had.”
However, Philbin, who has been a tv personality since the 1950s, underscored that he wasn’t planning to retire completely, but just from hosting “Live with Regis and Kelly” every day.
Co-host Kelly Ripa, 40, who’s celebrating her tenth year as co-host, expressed her gratitude for working with Philbin.
“I can only speak for America when I say it has been a pleasure and a privilege and a dream come true and I wish I could do something to make you change your mind,” she said.
ABC will name a replacment co-host soon, but that may be difficult.
“The reason that it’ll be almost impossible to replace him is the fact that Regis is the real deal. He’s the consummate pro; what you see on screen is all him,” says PR expert David Salidor, owner of DIS Public Relations.
“I first met him in the ’60’s through my family and talk about longevity; he’s been on NYC TV for 28 years.
“I’ll miss him terribly; there’s really no one around today who even remotely shares his sense of history.
“He’s really one of the last great originals. Truth be told; I don’t see the show in its current form even going on,” Salidor said.
The move is the latest in a sea change among talk show hosts on television.
Earlier this year, veteran broadcaster Larry King, 77, announced his retirement from his prime-time CNN talk show. Piers Morgan has since taken over his time slot.
And billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey will also end her syndicated talk show to focus on her new cable network called OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), which debuted this month on Discovery Channel.
Kathy Lee Gifford said today on her show that Regis likely wants to spend more time with his family and travel, something he loves to do.