Kathie Lee Banned From Live

After weak album sales for her new CD, Kathie Lee Gifford could use a promo boost from her former TV home, Live, but the syndicated show sure doesn't need her.

They certainly haven't missed the former beauty queen since her July departure: Ratings have been up, and a constant stream of fill-in co-hosts such as Bernadette Peters and Survivor's Sue Hawk have kept things pretty lively. Now execs at the morning talk fest have banned the perky former co-host from making an appearance on the newly redubbed Live With Regis. Gifford, who was on the show for 15 years, can't even take out ads during the show. According to the New York Post, Gifford frequently clashed with morning mate Regis Philbin and the show's exec producer, Michael Gelman.

The for-the-record reason given for the Gifford snub is that any reference to her might derail efforts to find a new co-host for Philbin, according to The Associated Press.

"We need to gain some physical and commercial separation from Kathie Lee during the search for her replacement," said Tom Kane, president and general manager of WABC-TV in New York, which produces the show. Kane indicated that once they've found their new Kathie Lee, the old Kathie will be welcome again as a guest. When Gifford made an appearance last Friday on the rival morning show Today, she told Katie Couric and Matt Lauer that Philbin may have gotten "a little angry when we booked the Today show so soon." Neither Gelman nor Gifford would comment Thursday about the supposed feud.

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