When Regis Philbin announced his retirement after 28 years as a talk show host it came as a surprise to the nation, but was also reportedly a surprise to his co-host of nearly ten years, Kelly Ripa. According to TMZ, Kelly found out just 15 minutes before Regis announced it on the air, because he was afraid if he told anyone ahead of time the news would leak. That makes it sound like these two don’t have the best relationship, doesn’t it?
Sources connected with “Live! with Regis & Kelly” tell TMZ … Regis Philbin blindsided Kelly Ripa with his retirement announcement today … telling her less than 15 minutes before they went on the air.
We’re told Kelly was “stunned” that Regis didn’t tell her well in advance. But one source connected with the show tells us, “She wasn’t upset.”
Our sources say Regis felt if he talked about it before making the announcement, it would have leaked out.
You could tell by Kelly’s body language during Regis’ announcement that she was still reeling from the news. (The clip is above.) One person that Regis did inform well ahead of his announcement is his former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. In a statement Gifford said that Regis has been talking about retiring for months. Burn to Kelly and that “leak” theory.
“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,” Kathie Lee, who co-hosted with Regis for 15 years, told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Tuesday. “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.”
Regis’ 80th birthday is right around the corner, but according to Kathie Lee, he’s won’t be slowing down in the least.
“He’s going to have a landmark birthday in August, It’s a new beginning for him… I don’t think Reg will ever retire,” she continued. “He loves what he does so much. But he can work in a lot of different ways and he can do it on his own schedule.
“You get tired of the sameness of something and as we age, you get tired of having to be on someone else’s schedule all the time,” Kathie Lee continued. “And even though he lives across the street from the studio, sometimes I know winters get to him I think he would rather be in sunny Florida or California and I’ve got a feeling he’s got some stuff up his sleeve.”
[From Access Hollywood]
Kathie Lee is also on a national talkshow, with Hoda on The Today Show, so if Regis told Kathie Lee that means he trusts her to keep a secret, unlike Kelly.
There’s speculation as to who would replace Regis on the show. Popeater’s Rob Schuter mentions that the success of Kathie Lee and Hoda points to a female co-host possibly taking Regis’ place. They’re potentially looking at someone around Kelly’s age so that they can continue to have the same two hosts for a decade or more. I hope they don’t consider Mark Consuelo. He seems like a decent guy, but the couple of times he cohosted with Kelly I was annoyed by their dumb couples banter.
Photos are from 9/22/10. Credit: WENN.com