Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
On this final day of Regis Philbin's daytime TV reign, it goes without saying that the guy is irreplaceable. This was extremely easy to see as his farewell episode of Live! With Regis and Kelly aired this morning, complete with tearful goodbyes, montages and all-star tributes dedicated to his 28 years on live television. Watch Regis give his final words here:
"Some people ask, 'Why has the show stayed on so long?'," said the 80-year-old funnyman. "People tell me why they watch it...because it makes them feel better. And it can't get any better than that. It makes them happy."
He also told his emotional costar Kelly Ripa, "I wanted this to be a show where people would feel better about themselves, would look at life in maybe a different way, a funnier way," said Philbin on Friday's episode. "I think that's what we've accomplished ... I'm going out a pretty proud and happy guy."
While the audience during today's show was filled with well-known guests, such as Kathie Lee Gifford, Tony Danza and Donald Trump, viewers can also expect some familiar faces to be passing through the studio in the coming months -- this time they'll be sitting in Regis' chair. After all, the show must go on!
For the next few months, a series of TV personalities will try out the guest host seat on what will temporarily be entitled Live with Kelly! -- as they did when replacing Kathie Lee in 2000. "We'll do what I call 'dating,'" exec producer Michael Gelman told TV Guide. "We'll have different guys come and we'll try them out, check their chemistry. We'll see how they work with the format and how the audience reacts. And it's easier to get audience feedback in this day and age with social media."
That said, here are some people who might be up for the job, long-term. Take care not to get too attached to any of them, though. "We're trying to think out of the box and keep our mind open," said Gelman. "It could be a woman, or a person you might not have even heard of. We don't know who it's going to be."
Kelly Ripa's hubby has some obvious advantages here. "He's done it many times," writes MediaWeek's Marc Berman. "They have a built-in chemistry. They look good together and work well together." Former talk show host Jerry Springer also supports a Ripa-Consuelos pairing. "For years there was a show in Britain, Richard and Judy, and they married," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "People loved it. When you watched them in the morning, you could tell whether they had an argument at home the night before. It was the dominant morning show. It could work. It would be a different show."
The SNL vet has reportedly been in the mix for some time now. And he has a lot of fans out there, including Perez Hilton."We think Carvey would be GREAT for the show!" writes the celebrity blogger. "He was totally radical cohost on Wayne's World with Mike Myers AND he was an incredible solo host on the classic SNL Church Lady sketch. Sure, he might not be young or edgy as his other contenders -- but compared to Regis Dana is practically a Kardashian!"
The former New York Giant and current FOX analyst has publicly lobbied for the job, and you can't deny that he shares Philbin's self-confidence. “I do think I could succeed at daytime television," he told The New York Post. "It is definitely an adjustment but one that I think I can slide into…What I do more is opinion-based and spontaneous and personality-driven, which is exactly what Regis and Kelly is about." Asked whether he could keep his current job and anchor Live, too, he said, "The schedules don’t conflict, and if you love something and really want to do it you will make it happen."
The actor is just coming off a canceled show, CBS's The Defenders. So it's possible he has time on his hands. "My buddy Jerry O'Connell would be great," All My Children star Josh Duhamel told Us Weekly. "And that's who I'm voting for."
If only because he was crazy enough to create a website about it, this local TV news personality deserves a shot at Regis' job. Click here and see if he can convince you.
Yes, Regis is leaving behind big shoes to fill, but, who knows? He might be back on TV sooner than we all think!