Regis Philbin is a legend among talk show hosts, mostly due to his 24 seasons hosting the show that would become Live! with Regis and Kelly by the time he left his duties behind. Now, we know what happened after Philbin retired from the daily morning show, and you might be surprised by what he reveals. Apparently, even though Philbin and co-host Kelly Ripa seemed pretty friendly on-screen every day, they really haven't spoken since he left the show in 2011. Here's what the former host told Larry King...
Never once did they ask me to go back. She got very offended when I left. She thought I was leaving because of her.
Regis Philbin recently made this reveal to Larry King for his Ora.TV interview show, Larry King Now, and this snippet of his interview was posted on Larry King's YouTube page. It's probably going to surprise a lot of people that Philbin and Kelly Ripa didn't keep in touch after they spent 10 years co-hosting a popular morning show together, but, what's really shocking, is that Ripa, apparently, felt slighted when Philbin decided to leave the show. Way to make it all about you, Kelly Ripa.
Regis Philbin began hosting the morning talk fest, then known as AM America, in 1975. He had three different co-hosts between then and 1985, when Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford) would join him, taking the show to up to the number one position in the New York market, which led to national syndication for the show in 1988. Gifford left the show in July 2000, and Kelly Ripa would take her place in early 2001. By the time Philbin left the show in 2011, he was 80 years old, and, as he told Larry King, the daily format of the show simply wasn't right for him at that time in his life anymore, so he made the decision to call it quits.
Somehow, it seems like Kelly Ripa took offense at his decision to leave her behind at the chat show desk. Not only did Ripa take Philbin's departure personally, the show, despite needing replacement co-hosts at times over the years since he left, has never asked him to return. I can certainly see that, if you are a producer on Live! with Kelly, if you have a host who's touchy about a certain person, you wouldn't reasonably be able to book that person on the show, whether that's as a temporary co-host or as a guest. Which means that it's unlikely that fans will ever see Regis Philbin back on the Live! set. You can check out the snippet of the interview in question below...
Well, seeing as how Kelly Ripa is currently still looking for someone to replace former co-host Michael Strahan, it'll be interesting to see if this public revelation from Regis Philbin makes her extend an olive branch to the man who helped launch her daytime hosting career. Of course, now that we know why they didn't keep in touch, that wouldn't seem like the most genuine offer, would it?
Update: Dave Davis, President and General Manager of WABC, which produces Live! with Kelly, had this to say about Regis Philbin and his contributions to the show since leaving his co-hosting gig:
It was wonderful to have Regis on the show for our 2015 Halloween special. He's also been invited back several times as a guest, and in fact was confirmed for a date, but was not able to make it at the time.