Jan. 18, 2011 — -- Veteran broadcaster Regis Philbin announced today that he will be retiring from the weekday talk show "Live With Regis and Kelly" after nearly 28 years.
Philbin broke the news this morning at the top of his show.
"This will be my last year on this show," Philbin said. "It was the biggest thrill of my life ... There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera, especially certain old people."
Philbin said he would be stepping down from the show "at the end of the summer into the fall, whatever it is," but didn't specify a departure date. Though he's departing, the "Live" franchise will continue: The Disney-ABC Television Group plans to name a new personality to join Kelly Ripa, who has co-hosted the show for nearly ten years.
Philbin, 79, has been a television personality since the 1950s. After beginning his TV career in Los Angeles, Philbin moved to New York City and WABC-TV in 1983. Kathie Lee Gifford joined him there in June 1985 and in September 1988, their AM entertainment hour debuted in national syndication. Its title was changed from "The Morning Show" to "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee."
Often called the "hardest working man in show business," Philbin set a Guinness World Record for most hours on camera with his Aug. 20, 2004 "Live" show, which gave him a total of 15,188 hours on television. In 2006, his record was updated to 15,662 hours.
In addition to "Live," Philbin is famous for formerly hosting the ABC game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," the CBS game show "Million Dollar Password," and the NBC competition show "America's Got Talent."
A three-time Emmy Award winner, Philbin was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2008.
Last year, Philbin took time off from his hosting duties to have a blood clot removed from his leg. He also had hip replacement surgery in December 2010 and triple heart bypass surgery in 2007.
Philbin has been married to his second wife, interior decorator Joy Philbin, since 1970. He has four children, two with Joy Philbin and two with his first wife, Kay Faylan.
Stars React to Philbin's Retirement
Following today's "Live," Philbin's day time colleagues and long time friends reacted to his retirement announcement.
"I'm thrilled for Regis," said Gifford, former "Live" co-host and current "Today" show personality. "Although he'll never retire, I think his most enjoyable days are ahead of him and I hope I'm a part of them."
Gifford told "Access Hollywood" that even in retirement, she expects Philbin to be as busy as ever.
"There's a million things Reg can do, there are going to be tons and tons of offers for him," she added. "He's still hot as pistol! How many people – except for Betty White – can say that in their '80s?!"
Jerry Seinfeld also released a statement of support for Philbin.
"Regis is one of the greatest hosts in television history, but what's most wonderful about him is that he is simply good company," Seinfeld said. "Every place he goes is much better for having him, and everyone he's with is much happier when he's around."
On ABC's "The View," Barbara Walters called Philbin "a wonderful friend to the show" and added, "whatever he wants to do is okay with us."
"View" co-host Joy Behar referenced Philbin's much-imitated "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" catch phrase with her well wishes:
"Maybe this is not his final answer."