Regis Philbin says contract squabbles pushed him out at 'Live!', eyes return to primetime


Image Credit: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

When Regis Philbin surprised fans in January with his announcement that he was leaving his daytime talk show after 28 years, the 80-year-old hinted that he was heading towards retirement, saying “There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera, especially certain old people.” But soon after, whispers emerged that his departure had more to do with his contract then a desire to retire.

Philbin seemed to confirm those rumors when he called in to Detroit’s The Mojo in the Morning radio show, saying that contractual issues actually pushed him out the door. “I’m not calling it quits, you understand,” he insisted to the morning crew, which included his Live! guest co-host Shannon Murphy. “I’m moving on. I’m not retiring. I’m not quitting. I’m moving on.”

When the radio hosts fawned over him, saying that ABC was making a mistake letting him leave, Philbin responded, “Of course it’s a big mistake, but Regis is moving on.”

Though he doesn’t have anything currently lined up, Philbin expressed an interest in getting back on television — possible ditching daytime for primetime. When the hosts pressed him about his replacement, he complemented all the candidates, from Anderson Cooper to Andy Cohen. But he pointed out that as talented and likable as they may be, his successor will face daily challenges that he can appreciate. “You don’t know how difficult it is to keep a situation going on a show like that that has no writers, that has no meetings,” he said. “You just go out there and you do it. I could do that because I’ve done it for 50 years, that’s the way that I like to do it. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody else.”

Read more:
Regis announces date of last ‘Live!’ show
Regis Philbin announces exit on ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’
Regis Philbin replacement scoop: Who will fill his seat?

Comments (78 total) Add your comment
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  • Mia

    This stupidity of letting Regis “move on” reeks of the dumb @ss monkey running ABC Daytime….Brian Frons.

  • Regina

    He will be missed. Kelly’s great but I just can’t see it going on without him. So weird to lose him, Larry King, and Oprah at the same time. Speaking of Oprah, maybe he could get a show on her network. Wait a minute, scratch that. I forgot: If he gets a show on OWN people might actually tune in and that would be against OWN’s policy.

    • me

      Kelly is great? What day was that?

      • mjh

        I like Kelly only because Regis keeps her in check. When someone is filling in for him, she is insufferable. The show will be horrible without Regis.

      • Flip

        Kelly is always great, you piece of sh!t hater. Go end you life now.

  • An Average Sized Mustache

    He should take over the Tonight Show.

    • Regina

      But then it might actually be worth watching and I’m in bed by then!!!

  • Mary

    Whoever made that decision should be fired. Regis and Kelly still get ratings and he is universally liked. Bad bad move to let him go. And I agree with Regina. Kelly is great but it really is Regis’ show. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  • amy

    I love Regis! The show will not make it without Regis! I probably won’t watch it anymore, no reason to!

    • PN

      I won’t watch it after he leaves. Regis IS that show! It’ll have okay ratings, but it won’t have the pull that he’s given it!

  • jrbear

    Regis is 80!!! No network will take a chance on mounting a new show around him with his age and many surgeries. He should get real and say he’s is retired. His big ego got in the way of the negotiations (he wanted even more than the almost $20 mil he was making), even though he works 4 days a week and takes off lots of weeks all year, and the ratings have dropped.

    • max

      Who Wants to Be a Millionaire proves that wrong. It doesn’t have to be something that will be years and years in the making, just something that can get some fast decent ratings for a year or few.

      • jrbear

        Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was 5 or more years ago and before his heart surgery. I could see him doing ‘specials’, like at Xmas time, so he can get to do his other ‘ego boost’ on TV…singing.

    • Necro

      You said it.

    • Jaime

      I have to agree. While “Live” is definitely his show, who’s going to offer him over 20 million with all his health issues and such a huge risk it won’t last long? Maybe he should start doing holiday specials so he can keep working but doesn’t have to commit to anything serious.

      • Mary

        80 or not, he’s still more enjoyable to watch than 95% of the people who have talk shows. He’s quick witted which doesn’t seem to be going away. He also still has the ratings, so it seems to me it’s a no-brainer to give the man what he wanted.

    • PN

      He hasn’t done 5-day weeks for the past 2 years. He has done 4 a week and then let a fill in host do it for the Friday show. Maybe the grind was just too much when he turned 78 and 79. But for him to do the show at 80 years old is remarkable. He’s still youthful and funny. You can tell and sense when he mentions Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin that he doesn’t really like current contemporary pop music. He likes that crooning era a lot.

    • Mike

      Betty White is almost ten years older and ist still getting lots of offers. If there is an audience to watch they will pay.

      • eyeheartnyc

        Betty White’s not doing a daily talk show 50 weeks a year.

    • eyeheartnyc

      As much as I like Regis, he is gone ALOT (it seems like every time I tune in there’s someone else filling in for him), so it’s kind of rediculous for him to expect to see his same salary when he works such a reduced schedule. If the whole situation with AMC & OLTL showed us anything it’s that these types of shows are cheap & easy to produce and don’t need big ratings to be considered successful (ie – profitable) to the network. I think he would do great hosting another syndicated game show or something where he could film a bunch of them all in one day and then take long breaks in between. I wish him the best and will definitely tune into his next endeavor.

      • Dan

        He’s great with Kelly, but you are right… he’s gone so often. Sometimes it seems like Regis spends more time on vacation than at work.

  • Necro

    Who’s Oprah?

    • Regina


    • Uh


  • jj

    If Regis gets a prime time show, I’ll be watching it.

  • Not Moby

    Is that Joey Buttafuoco behind him?

    • GinaLee

      That cracked me up. I spit my coffee across the room!

  • Brit

    So he wants to give up a situation which required no prep time on his part, just show up and go? Sounds like he should have kept that gig.

  • jfms777

    He already is featured in a new ADVIL commercial, and (God knows) they must have paid him a ton to do it. And he still has TD Bank. Assuming he still has the freedom to do a variety of commercials/ads, he will do great as a pitchman–even if he never gets another tv show.

    • PN

      He’ll be a good pitchman for commercials. I don’t see him doing a lot of TV shows and specials.

  • PN

    I think a lot of people went overboard with their flashy tributes and magazine sections on Regis Philbin when he announced that this year would be his final year on Live. He’s NOT retiring! He just doesn’t want to do the show anymore.He just doesn’t want to do daytime TV anymore. And it’s difficult against media, Facebook and Internet savvy executive producer Gelman and Regis’ co-host Kelly Ripa. I think he’s had a good run and he’s leaving on top when he does his final show on Nov. 18th.

    • mjh

      It’s not that he doesn’t want to do the show anymore. They didn’t want to pay him what he thought he was worth. It’s a shame really.

  • Michael

    I could see him on Good Morning Ameircan and I would see Kelly Joinning the View

  • Bob

    More screw-ups by the flaks at ABC Daytime!

  • mjh

    He quit over contract negotiations? Don’t these execs know how loved Reege is? If Kelly was a decent friend, she would quit too.

    • lb

      yes she should quit and lose out on all of her millions lmao give me a break

    • maggie

      Kelly should quit out of friendship? hahahahahahahaha

      She has a family to support. This show is the highlight of her career. Why should she quit? If Regis wants to turn down his new contract, that’s his business. But why should Kelly’s quit because Regis thinks he isn’t being paid enough?

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