In the wake of Regis Philbin’s death, Disney’s Live with Kelly and Ryan will honor the show’s founding co-host by re-airing the Emmy-winning “Regis Farewell Celebration Special" that first aired Nov. 18, 2011.
The episode celebrates Philbin’s nearly three decades on Live and features favorite guests, musical tributes and Philbin’s reflections on his years on the show.
Throughout the week, Live also is sharing memories and favorite moments with Philbin on its digital and social platforms.
Philbin passed away on Saturday, July 25 at 88 from complications due to heart disease.
Live first aired as The Morning Show on WABC New York from 1983 to 1988. Philbin’s first co-host was Cindy Garvey, but she left the show and was replaced by Ann Abernathy. Abernathy also departed relatively quickly to return to Los Angeles and was replaced by Kathie Lee Gifford in 1985. Philbin and Gifford had a special chemistry and ABC decided to take the show into national syndication in 1988, where it quickly became a big hit.
Philbin also hosted the phenomenally successful primetime game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire on ABC from 1999-2002.
Gifford departed the show after 12 years on July 28, 2000 and Live Executive Producer Michael Gelman took his time finding the right person to replace her. Kelly Ripa was named Gifford’s replacement on Feb. 5, 2001.
Ripa has remained on the show ever since, with Philbin finally departing on Nov. 18, 2011 after 28 years on Live and its predecessors. Philbin was replaced by Michael Strahan on September 4, 2012. Strahan drove the show to new ratings highs but that grabbed the attention of ABC, who moved him permanently to Good Morning America in May 2016. The show took another year to find a new co-host with Ryan Seacrest getting the gig on May 1, 2017.
During the pandemic, Live with Kelly and Ryan have remained on the air with both co-hosts doing the show from their homes and talking to guests over Skype. On Monday, Ripa got emotional while talking to Seacrest about learning the news of Philbin’s death over the weekend.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.