Regis and Kathie Lee Together Again at Last!

The Second Coming

The Second Coming

It’s a little known fact, given to us on good authority by a reliable source within a branch of the U.S. government, that before Dick Clark’s stroke, his attic was burglarized and a certain painting stolen by none other than Regis Philbin. Perhaps, then, we should not be surprised to learn that the suspiciously chipper 83 year old is coming out of retirement and will be joining Kathie Lee Gifford on the fourth hour of Today, a thing you might know exists if you long ago ditched the dream you’d ever again be employed and gave up even getting dressed in your “outside” clothes.

This is big news because back in olden times, Regis and Kathie Lee hosted a pioneering daytime talk show called Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, which was live and featured both Regis and Kathie Lee.

The show was considered “groundbreaking” because the hosts started off each day by telling us and each other way more than we wanted to know about their personal lives, which is a thing people didn’t used to do nearly so often. Sometimes, Regis, who was old enough to be Kathie Lee’s husband father, would get downright embarrassed when his co-hostess would start laying on the details about her perfect marriage to the ol’ (sleaze)ball and chain, Frank Gifford, who like Regis was 23 years her senior. The show saw them through good times and bad. Mostly the bad had to do with Frank’s getting caught shtupping a flight attendant – but it was a lady flight attendant and she was alive, so it was traditional adultery and all was swept under the table forgiven.

"Daring" by 1992 standards. The Clinton years changed our nation a lot.

“Daring” by 1992 standards. The Clinton years changed our nation a lot.

 

The duo stayed paired from 1983 – beginning locally in NY NY – until 2000, when Kathie Lee left to pursue her dream of being a star on Broadway. The Reg went through a series of temporary work-wives, including his “real” wife, until he finally settled on Kelly Rippa, with whom he had a nice chemistry that wasn’t creepy at all if you thought of it as a grandpa-granddaughter thing, but it was the never the same and gave Howard Stern much less to work with, so Reg finally retired in 2011. But he wasn’t content to just sit around playing canasta and soon found himself visiting his old-cohostess at her new place of work fairly often. (Not Broadway. That didn’t go so well.)

Now they’ve just made it official. This is a great gig for an octogenarian since there’s no pressure. Just like Kathie Lee giving up her dream of being the next Patti Lupone, NBC has long since given  Today would ever beat Good Morning America in the ratings.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

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