The “host chat” segment of “Live with Regis and Kelly” is where the co-hosts riff on the headlines of the day. But on Tuesday, Regis Philbin had a news flash of his own for viewers and co-host Kelly Ripa when he announced his plan to retire from the longrunning ayem chat show later this year.
Distrib Disney-ABC Domestic TV said it would begin a search for a successor to continue the show alongside Ripa, who marks her 10th anniversary on “Live” next month.
“This will be my last year on this show,” Philbin said to a chorus of disappointment from the audience. “No, I know, it’s been a long time,” Philbin said. “It’s been 28 years since I’ve been here, and it was the biggest thrill of my life to come back to New York.”
Phibin, who is 79, did not specify his last day on the job, but indicated it would be some time over the summer.
“There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera, especially certain old people,” Philbin said.
Philbin launched what was then known as “The Morning Show” in 1983 on ABC’s flagship O&O WABC-TV New York. Kathy Lee Gifford joined him as co-host in 1985, and the show went into national syndication that year. Ripa succeeded Gifford in 2001.
“Regis is one of the great, iconic television personalities of our time, and we couldn’t have asked for a better friend and partner over the years,” said Disney-ABC Domestic TV prexy Janice Marinelli.
Added WABC-TV prexy and g.m. Dave Davis: “It will be difficult to say goodbye to Regis after 28 years as a member of our family. We will miss him as a colleague and friend.”
Philbin has been a smallscreen mainstay since the 1950s. He gained a national profile in the late 1960s as the sidekick to Joey Bishop on the latenight talker that ran on ABC from 1967-69.
In recent years, Philbin has grappled with health issues, undergoing triple-bypass surgery in 2007 and a hip replacement in 2009.
Philbin has won a slew of awards, including three Emmys and a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy in 2008. Disney-ABC Domestic TV said “Live” will incorporate special farewell segments and guests through the rest of this season.