The once-dynamic duo ruled morning TV with their syndicated show Live! from 1988 to 2000, and Philbin then added another 11 years to his reign — the last ten of which he spent co-hosting with Kelly Ripa.
But the daytime pioneer quit in 2011 over a salary dispute, and now 87-year-old Philbin is anxious to get back into action!
“Things haven’t been great for Regis since then, https://radaronline.com/exclusives/2017/08/kelly-ripa-avoids-regis-philbin-at-party/ and he believes Kathie Lee is his ticket back into the spotlight,” a source told Radar.
Philbin reportedly made his move after Gifford, 65, announced in December she’s leaving the Today show’s fourth hour, and co-host, Hoda Kotb, after 11 years.
“Regis is begging Kathie Lee to go out on the road with him and play theaters and casinos,” a friend dished. “He did well when he toured with his old pal Don Rickles. But Don died in 2017 and Regis feels like he needs a partner to make his act work.
“He’s itching to get back in the game, and he feels bantering onstage with Kathie Lee and doing some duets with her will bring the old magic back!”
Although Gifford adores Philbin, insiders say she’s concerned over his age and health issues.
He had an angioplasty in 1993, triple bypass surgery in 2007, a hip replacement in 2009 and a deadly blood clot cut from his calf in 2010.
Philbin — whose first hosting gig was The Regis Philbin Show in 1964 in San Diego — also reportedly has high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
“Kathie Lee loves that Regis still has this enthusiasm for working, but it isn’t 2000 any longer,” the friend added. “It’s a case of her fearing Regis’ mind is willing, but his body is weak.”
With Gifford set to leave “Today” in April, NBC insiders have admitted Jenna Bush Hager, 37, is livid she hasn’t been named to succeed her. According to sources, the former first daughter has been pressuring Kotb to convince network honchos to give her Gifford’s cushy seat!
“Jenna may have to wait a long time,” a source spilled. “Producers think they can do better. They were going to give it to Chrissy Teigen, but she was a disaster on the network’s New Year’s Eve show. Jenna will only get the gig if they can’t find anyone else.”
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