CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
Encore Presentation: Interview With Regis Philbin
Aired November 17, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, it's Regis! What does the host of "Live With Regis and Kelly" say about those tabloid reports that he and Kelly are on the outs? He never holds back, and that's why we love him. Regis Philbin for the hour, next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
KING: What a great treat to have as our special guest my man, Regis Philbin. He was last with us back in May. He was with us on one of the most poignant nights ever on this program, when he followed Mayor Giuliani two weeks after September 11. We'll not forget that night.
Reege, you and I are very close. We go back a long way. But I had one of the great days of my life last week, a week ago Saturday, when Regis had invited me to come out to Notre Dame. I must tell you, I mean, you're the guest, so I don't want to -- that's some place.
REGIS PHILBIN, HOST, "LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY": I'm so glad you liked it, you know.
KING: I want to tell you, the most surprising thing to me was -- I don't know what I expected, but that may be the finest campus I've ever been on, to combine what it is with today with yesterday, with its religious aspect. It was amazing.
PHILBIN: Well, as they added onto the campus, they kept it on the same color brick, you know, so it looks all uniform. But you know when you're looking at something that's 150 years old, maybe it's been restored once or twice, but it's still basically what it was when they built it.
KING: What was -- I noticed some -- what -- you're a national monument there. That's where Regis slept. This is where Regis -- Regis worked in a malt shop two blocks from here. But you were impressed that they knew me.
PHILBIN: Yes. Larry King, all of a sudden, the "South Bench Review" put up a front page. I've never seen anything like it. This is where Regis is going to -- this is what Larry King is going to see. The crowd, the lake, the thing. It was really something. I was very impressed.
And then when I was waiting for you, your plane was late, 4,000 people, including the bishop there, the vicar of Indiana, said, where is he? Where's Larry King? All of a sudden everybody's talking like you, to me, to my ear.
KING: I don't talk like that, do I? I do, I guess I do.
PHILBIN: And he came up. He wanted to know. Everybody wanted to know. And I said, well, his plane is down, but he's all right. He's all right.
KING: A stupid way of saying it, Reege. The plane is down. I know I've been extolling on the virtues of private ownership.
KING: But it didn't pay off when we were two hours late.
PHILBIN: But it was such a day. And I want to tell all your fans this. Here's Larry King -- got a lot on his mind. He leaves the hotel in New York City, and there's a car. He jumps in the car and says to the guy, Peterborough airport. They take off and go to the airport. So at the end of the drive, turns out Larry King got in the wrong car.
KING: Guy wanted to take me, though.
PHILBIN: Yes, the guy was willing to take you.
KING: I should have known when I said, do you know the tail number? He said, no, I don't know the tail number. Don't worry about that, I'll get you there.
KING: It was that kind of day.
PHILBIN: Then Larry King gets there, and of course, there's a little thing on the plane, and they're very cautious about taking off when not everything is up to snuff. So they had to wait an hour.
KING: The best was having to call you. Oh, that was a thrill.
PHILBIN: Let me tell you the best. I'm so proud of you, too, and I suppose you do this all the time. But Larry King is one of those people who knows when he has something caught in his own throat, he don't ask for anybody else's assistant. Larry King can give himself the heimlich. Hooah! And he's all right.
KING: I had a piece of bagel stuck in my throat.
PHILBIN: The people were looking at him -- hooah! Larry, are you all right? Hooah! I'm OK.
KING: Let's look at some pictures from this, folks. I know you're thrilled with this, and we'll get to other things. But let's show some pictures and we'll tell you.
PHILBIN: This is when you got out of the car, finally. I waited there two hours. People are driving me nuts, and you finally came out. I thought you were dressed like a priest.
KING: In honor of your faith.
PHILBIN: Thank you. Very handsome. He got out.
KING: Explain what this is. Stay on this picture.
PHILBIN: Took Larry down to the grotto, sort of a recreation of the Lord's grotto, and all the candles were there. And so Larry and I knelt down and we said a prayer.
KING: I've never seen an outdoor prayer area. I never have.
KING: It was very moving.
PHILBIN: That's a treasured spot of Notre Dame.
KING: A golden dome.
PHILBIN: The golden dome. Fortunately we can pan up and see that dome, I guess. But the dome is up there so I wanted to take a picture of Larry in front of the main building in Notre Dame, the first -- one of the first buildings there.
KING: And they're building what now? You have a piece of a building?
PHILBIN: Yes, we're building an entertainment complex at the other end of the campus. But that's where it all started, when the teachers and the students...
KING: Explain this walk. This is a riot.
PHILBIN: This walk, the fans kind of cleared the way for the Notre Dame band to come down this little avenue, this walkway, into the stadium. And it's quite a thrill to hear that band up close.
And so Larry and I are trying to get to the stadium because we were pressed for time. We had an interview there. And so we stumbled onto this walk. "Here's a clear path, Larry. Let's take this."
And people think that we're walking down and we're the parade. So people are cheering and yelling and belling...
KING: "Regis, Larry, Larry, Regis." They were waving.
PHILBIN: It was an upper, wasn't it?
KING: And I thought it was a rather wide path for two guys.
PHILBIN: Yes, for us. We didn't need that much space. But it was terrific. We had a lot of laughs. And then at halftime, we went up to see the radio crew, Tony Roberts and Allen Pinkett. And Paul Horning has the halftime radio show. And he's an old pal of yours, and so is Tony Roberts.
KING: Tony Roberts and I...
PHILBIN: He's one of the great voices of sports broadcasting.
KING: He used to do Washington Senator baseball years ago.
PHILBIN: Did he ever do the Redskins?
KING: Oh, yes.
PHILBIN: Oh, he did, yes. He's just terrific.
KING: Look who shows up -- Russert.
PHILBIN: Yes, Tim Russert. Who invited him? Why do we need Tim Russert?
KING: He was walking around saying, "Know who's on 'Meet the Press' tomorrow?"
PHILBIN: He's a John Carroll guy. He likes to say, "I'm Jesuit- trained with a Notre Dame degree." And that's Father Malloy, Mark Malloy, an old Notre Dame center who became president of Notre Dame University. Doing a great job for ten years now. And they were all excited to have you on the campus.
KING: It was a memorable day. Also, you couldn't have picked a -- Notre Dame must have some connection with -- because the day was perfect. The Lord came through.
PHILBIN: It was a nice, gentle, cool autumn breeze blowing.
KING: The team won.
PHILBIN: The team won. What could be better than that?
KING: What kind of student were you?
PHILBIN: I was average. I was very average. Average in high school, average in college. I wanted to do this. I wanted to be in this business, didn't know exactly what.
KING: No broadcasting major?
PHILBIN: No, not that.
KING: So what did you major in?
PHILBIN: Sociology, so I could study guys like you, Larry King. No, but I went to the -- we had a radio station in those days, and a television station came into. I went to the station. I wanted to knock on the door to apply for a job sweeping the floors, anything. Just get acquainted with the business. I couldn't do it. KING: The life and times of Regis Philbin.
PHILBIN: But did you hear what I said? I couldn't do it.
KING: I'm going to pick up on that.
PHILBIN: OK, fine. I thought Larry...
KING: No, I have to take a break. Do you think I'd leave something hanging?
PHILBIN: I couldn't do it.
KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without further ado, Larry King, Regis Philbin. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us.
KING: Let's hear it!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, Regis, when you were on Larry's show, you invited him to Notre Dame. Tell us how this all transpired.
PHILBIN: Well, we were talking. He's always asking me about Notre Dame. The closest he came to Notre Dame was interviewing Father Ted Hesburgh. I said, "Larry, ever been there?" No. I said, "Would you like to go?" Yes. And here he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: I got two mosquito bites.
KELLY RIPA, HOST: Oh.
PHILBIN: In a very, very difficult area.
RIPA: Oh, please, show us, Reege.
PHILBIN: Difficult area to scratch.
PHILBIN: And it drove me nuts. You know how those things are.
RIPA: Where are they?
PHILBIN: And then once you scratch it, you know, whoa!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Regis Philbin, Emmy award-winning host, executive producer of "Live With Regis & Kelly," now in its 14th season in national syndication. OK, you couldn't do what?
PHILBIN: I couldn't even knock on the door to apply for a job.
PHILBIN: Very nervous. And there was -- an elderly woman at that time was the receptionist sitting outside. And she scared the heck out of me. So I just turned around and went away.
And then years later, when I got started in Hollywood, in New York, as a page, Hollywood as a stage-hand, San Diego in radio and then San Diego in TV, and then finally came up in the Joey Bishop show. And then years later, I go back to the campus after all of the exposure that I had, every night on the ABC network with Joey.
And I went to the studio, and the same woman, now even more elderly -- I think here name was Irene or Eileen, or Grace. It was Grace. And she was sitting there at the same spot. Again, I chickened out. I was afraid to go and knock on the door.
KING: What was your first -- other than page, paid job in broadcasting in San Diego? What was your first on the air...
PHILBIN: Oh, on the air was in San Diego, doing a pitch hit for sports, for the sportscaster, Luke Mason.
KING: "Now sitting in for Luke."
PHILBIN: Yes, Regis Philbin. Nobody knew who I was. And I would do a feature every night, a little editorial feature, something that they didn't have on any other sportscast that night. And it paid to be a little bit different. The guy took notice -- Ray Wilson was the news director -- took notice of it and made me a feature desk reporter, where every night I would have a different feature on the air.
KING: Last time you were on, Regis, it was really kind of timely. They were about to make a decision on whether "Millionaire" would be retained. You run this show. I think the night before the decision, you kind of felt it would not be.
PHILBIN: No, I figured it wouldn't be, right.
KING: As you look back now, what went right, what went wrong?
PHILBIN: The show was terrific. The show went right. Probably the scheduling, if we had to say something went wrong, was too much of an overkill. They ran the show too many times.
KING: Did you sense that?
PHILBIN: Oh, yes. I got a queasy feeling like, my gosh, how many nights a week can you sit home and watch this show, you know? I thought one night a week was terrific. Maybe you could scrape by maybe two nights a week. But four nights, overkill.
KING: When it was the hottest of the hottest, you were on the front cover of national magazines. You changed apparel, the dark shirts and chrome on chrome matching -- what was that like? I understand when it happens to somebody who's 23, or a rock star. What was it like at your age?
PHILBIN: Well, at my age it still was quite a ride and quite a thrill. It really was. But, like you say, if that had happened to me when I was in my 20s, I would have probably blown it even faster, you know. But I really had a chance to absorb it, take it all in, but still know that someday it was going to pass. I just didn't know it was going to be that quick.
KING: You wanted to host that, right?
PHILBIN: Oh, sure.
KING: You went after it?
PHILBIN: Oh, yes. I saw the show once on tape, a show from Great Britain. And the guy was terrific and the concept was great, and all of these new features -- polling the audience electronically right in the studio, calling someone on the air, finding out if they could help the person who was stuck, narrowing it down to two. All of these things were so different.
KING: But the thinking, that much energy doesn't work four nights a week, right? It's too much to ask of an audience, right?
PHILBIN: It is, yes. Absolutely.
KING: But as a daytime strip it's OK.
PHILBIN: Daytime strip, what they did, Larry, was they shortened it to a half-hour. They didn't -- they just invite people to come and do the show. As I see the show, they don't have the fastest finger question, where they have ten people there and we go through all of that to determine who's going sit in the seat to begin with. The next person just comes up and sits down. So it moves even faster.
KING: Meredith Vieira, you like her work?
PHILBIN: I think she's doing a great job. I think she looks fantastic. Have you seen her? Wow.
KING: Great gal. Did you want the daytime?
PHILBIN: No, I didn't. I turned it down a couple of times. It's not been reported anywhere, but they did ask me, three times, to tell you the truth. I said no.
PHILBIN: Because they thought I would be the ideal host since I had done it in prime time.
KING: Why did you turn it down?
PHILBIN: I really didn't want to work that hard. And I knew it would be a tough cry.
KING: Because you were working hard.
KING: That show is taped, isn't it?
PHILBIN: Yes, that is true.
KING: Jim Griffin, your agent for 722 years, told me that the taping of that show, the one-hour tape, took three hours to tape.
PHILBIN: Well, sometimes it did. But most of the time it took between two and three hours. Yes, it was a long grind. Because computers would break down, contestants would have to go to the bathroom, whatever.
Right now, Larry, can I go to the bathroom? Just kidding. Trying to get a laugh out of you.
KING: You can. I don't care.
PHILBIN: No, but it took a long time for a number of reasons. And so I just didn't want to get involved again. If it comes back nationally, I will do it.
KING: Might it come back?
PHILBIN: It might. Who knows? I really don't know.
KING: Would you do another quiz show?
PHILBIN: I don't know. I loved that show. I loved the format of the show. I'd have to see what the show was all about.
KING: And it was a huge a money, right, in a short period of time, that you made? Huge amount of money.
PHILBIN: Why, have you heard something, Larry?
KING: No, come on, Reege.
PHILBIN: It was. Because it was on four nights a week. I didn't say I wanted it on four nights a week. It just happened that way.
KING: And they had to pay you.
PHILBIN: Absolutely, Larry.
KING: Is it still being shown around the world? PHILBIN: In other countries, yes, still a big hit.
KING: South Africa?
PHILBIN: South Africa, England, Ireland. They're all over the place.
KING: Why didn't they keep it once a week? Why didn't they go back to it?
PHILBIN: Because they really didn't have a lot of programming at that time. And so here was this enormous...
KING: Even now, why not do it now once a week? Meredith do the daytime, and you do once a week.
PHILBIN: I think it's best they take it off, give it a rest for a while. Let's put other programs in there, see how well they do for the network. Those that make it, great, those that don't...
KING: How many people have won a million?
PHILBIN: I think about seven.
KING: Anybody you didn't like as a contestant? You don't have to name who. Assuming you didn't like someone, what was that like? Did you want them to lose?
PHILBIN: No, no. There was a funny story, but first guy who won the million dollars was an IRS agent from Hampton, Connecticut. And he was 30 years old. But he was bright and he was smart. And a little on the cocky side, you know? A little arrogant.
And so he cruised right through those 14 questions, and everything was going his way. Never used a lifeline. Fifteenth question, what American president was on the television show "Laugh- in," in 1969, or whenever? Thirty years ago.
Well, he's 30 years old. Maybe he missed this. But he said, I'm going to use a lifeline. Oh, really. What do you want? I want to call my father. Well, that's nice.
Calling his father. "Dad, remember the 'Laugh-in' show? Which American president?" Get the dad on the line. He says, "Dad, I don't need your help. I'm going to win a million dollars and I want you to be first one to know it."
Well, I almost reached across and hit him. But then I thought he might audit me. So I didn't.
KING: That was pretty sharp.
PHILBIN: But he turned out to be a good guy. And he was first million winner.
KING: Do they take the tax out? Have you seen the check delivered to the person?
PHILBIN: No, I haven't. But the tax comes out.
KING: So they get about 600, huh?
PHILBIN: About, yes.
KING: Don't you feel good giving that?
PHILBIN: Oh, let me tell you something. The second-best thing to getting that money is to give it away. I'm not kidding you. It was an upper. And some of our contestants, you know, I mean, the stories they told me. You knew they needed that money. And it was awfully good.
KING: Regis is our guest. If I have to tell you the last name, you're on another planet. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Dad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really need your help, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm going win the million dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because the U.S. president that appeared on "Laugh-In" is Richard Nixon. That's my final answer.
PHILBIN: Well, my gosh. What can I say except, Debbie, you're going to Paris and this is the final answer heard all around the world. He's won a million dollars!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIPA: Oh, bad arm.
PHILBIN: Did you hit me in the arm?
RIPA: I hit you in the bad arm.
PHILBIN: And I'm going to spill this orange juice all over...
RIPA: All over your lower extremities.
PHILBIN: Yes, thank you very much.
RIPA: I'll do anything to get those pants off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Earlier I said Regis was in his 14th year. False!
PHILBIN: Fifteenth year.
KING: Fifteenth year.
PHILBIN: Of nationally syndicated shows.
KING: Of a nationally syndicated show. And we were live and you're live. We have the two names, "Live," these two shows.
PHILBIN: But right now the two guys who are live are on...
KING: Tape, yes! OK. Oh, by the way, something personal. "The Globe" reports that you played tennis a month ago and something happened to your elbow. You had surgery. What happened? I'm right on top of these things with my crack staff.
PHILBIN: Actually, I did hurt myself in a gym. A partial tear here and a partial tear in my shoulder, where I was serving the tennis ball. It may have developed there. I thought it was the gym for the elbow. This, though, has worn down too.
So I just got it sewed up a couple of weeks ago and they're going to take the stitches out tomorrow. And it's been very painful. Just a little partial tear, though.
KING: OK. Tabloids about you and Kelly. "National Enquirer," October 8th, "Regis Betrayed By Kelly." He's being pushed out as she cuts a secret deal.
Previous headlines: "Regis and Kelly's Bitter Battle: Their Shocking Backstage Feud Explodes." "Regis Quits!"
KING: Wait a minute, I know what he makes. He don't quit. He don't quit if he's working with King Kong, he don't quit. Bitter battle, "National Examiner" last month was headlined, "Regis Can't Stand Kelly, He Wants His Daughter to Replace Her."
PHILBIN: My gosh. Poor Joanna pinch hit one day for poor Kelly and I guess that's how that went.
KING: And then they say you're having a big pay cut because of Kelly's big money.
PHILBIN: Well, this is all news to me. No, I think Kelly is terrific. I get along with her fine. But you know, the gossip thing is so big these days. And it happens, I guess, to every show business duo, Martin and Lewis, to go back a long time.
KING: You and Kathie Lee had it, right?
PHILBIN: Yes, but there was never any...
KING: Not like this?
PHILBIN: No, but not even this. You know, Larry, you asked me the other day, coming back on the plane, you said, "now, you and Kelly spend a lot of time together socially." No, we don't. And that's deliberate, too. Because if you get to know too much about someone, it takes the edge off that relationship on the air.
KING: That morning talk wouldn't work if you had dinner the night before together.
PHILBIN: Exactly. It gets too comfortable, too cozy. You've got to have that little edge. That's what the whole thing is about, you know, to be very honest.
KING: So do you know where they start these stories? Is there a leak where you're working? Or are they making it up?
PHILBIN: I really don't know. I don't know.
KING: In other words, you haven't seen anything when they do this, that's truthful?
PHILBIN: No, I haven't seen anything. I haven't received a pay cut, I know that. I don't know what Kelly is making.
KING: How does Kelly handle it, the stories?
PHILBIN: About the same way. There's very little you can do about this. So you don't do anything about it. I don't know where it comes from.
KING: Do you ever think of coming back at it? I know that last week Peter Johnson did a story in "USA Today" that gave your side of the thing. Have you ever thought about doing a Rosie?
PHILBIN: No, that's not my style. No, I mean, I accept this whole thing. I know what this business is built on. It's built on stories like this. But I -- I'm not going to get involved in that. There's no reason to.
KING: What do you make of the Rosie O'Donnell fighting-back kind of thing?
PHILBIN: Well, you know, I kind of see her point of view on it. The magazine has got Rosie's name on it. It's Rosie, it was supposed to be her point of view, her vision and all of that. And now that she's off TV, I don't know what has changed with the ownership of the magazine or with Rosie. That I don't know too much about it. You tell me.
KING: I don't know.
PHILBIN: You're the guy with the who, what, when.
KING: There was a dispute over the magazine and where it was going.
PHILBIN: Exactly. And so, that's too bad.
KING: How tough is daytime TV competition? Are you one every day? What did we do yesterday? What did they do against us? How is this new show doing? What do you think of Dr. Phil?
KING: What are you laughing at?
PHILBIN: I love that.
KING: Are you going imitate me doing that?
PHILBIN: No, never.
PHILBIN: Until we get out of here.
KING: Until tomorrow.
PHILBIN: Yes, it is interesting and it is very competitive. I mean, you know, the landscape in daytime is littered with talk shows. And so everybody wants to know how everybody else is doing. All I have access to are the daytime ratings here in New York, the overnights here in New York. And I must say, we're doing -- usually we win the day.
KING: You don't get national because there are different times, different cities, right?
PHILBIN: Exactly. So I don't know how we're doing around the country, except what I see in writing at the end of the week. And we're usually No. 2 to "Oprah." We're on at 9:00 in the morning, we have a smaller audience. But we're very happy.
But in New York, we do exceptionally well. And so far we're...
KING: You kind of invented the co-host daytime thing.
PHILBIN: I think so, yes.
KING: You were first to do it, starting back in...
KING: And quite a few co-hosts.
PHILBIN: I've had about six or seven.
KING: What do you want in a co-host? PHILBIN: I think Kelly is probably what you want of a co-host -- someone who is funny, great sense of humor. Tell a good story.
KING: Have to be attractive?
PHILBIN: Attractive is very important, I think. And a good listener, and someone who has a rapport with you almost instantly. We had her on as a guest over the years, and it was always comfortable. It was always fun.
KING: Do the two people co-hosting having to like each other? Tinkers and Evers, the great shortstop combination, didn't talk to each other.
PHILBIN: I know. See, we are talking to each other and I think they do have to like each other. Absolutely.
KING: It wouldn't work?
PHILBIN: And you've also got to be cognizant of somebody's failings, or, you know, not everybody is perfect, Larry. You're the only one I know, you know? And so if someone isn't perfect, you still have to accept them and love them for their imperfections. And this -- I'm not perfect. I'm not perfect.
KING: Kelly tells...
PHILBIN: Larry, did you hear me? I'm not perfect.
KING: I doubt it. Kelly tells "Ladies Home Journal" that she gets on people's nerves. She says, Regis never gets on my nerves and I hope I don't get on his nerves, although I'm sure I do. Lord knows I get on everyone else's nerves.
Does she get on your nerves, Reege?
PHILBIN: No, she doesn't. I understand. You know, in the beginning of the show, she was nervous, of course, starting a whole new thing. She knew she was going to be observed and written about and compared and all that. And I guess she was as nervous as could be. And if maybe she talked a little too long telling a story, or didn't get to the punchline soon enough, but she's overcome that. I think now we're on a smooth track.
KING: The life and times of Regis Philbin, the noted alumni of the fighting Irish of Notre Dame, an institution I have suddenly become a fan of and I really look forward going back to. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIPA: This machine is out of control!
PHILBIN: You're in the middle. I'll take these over here.
RIPA: Ahhh! (APPLAUSE)
PHILBIN: All right, that's it. One more! Stop it! We surrender!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIPA: So I put Lowell's little tub inside the big tub. I fill them both up with water.
PHILBIN: This is good.
PHILBIN: Good. Good thinking.
RIPA: Washed two heads of hair at the same time.
PHILBIN: Yes. Yes.
RIPA: Rinse, rinse, rinse. Dry the eyes. Wipe, wipe wipe. Scrub, scrub, scrub.
PHILBIN: We don't need to hear about the wipe, wipe, wipe. That does it. Hair is good. We don't want to know about wipe.
RIPA: I understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Regis Philbin who is -- you seem to be always in the news. You like that? It travels you around.
PHILBIN: I don't like that. I don't want to be in the news. Do you?
KING: No. You're happy to go in, do the show.
PHILBIN: Do my show and walk out. I just want to be there and...
KING: Is it as much fun as it always was?
PHILBIN: The show, yes, I think right now we're in a good place gee, it's fun. It really is. It's fun to go to in the morning. My wife tells me I would miss it terribly if I ever did retire and I probably would.
KING: Did you think of retiring?
PHILBIN: Oh, sure.
KING: You're how old now?
PHILBIN: Older than you, as a matter of fact. Want to know that? Older than you.
KING: Two years older.
KING: I don't think of retiring.
PHILBIN: You never think of retiring? What would you do?
KING: To what, as Milton Berle used to say.
PHILBIN: Where would you go in the afternoon? So, when I think about it and I never got into golf, you know, I played golf, wrecked my back and I would be out for a month with a bad back and so I just didn't pursue it.
What would I do, Larry?
KING: Kelly tells "Ladies Home Journal" that there is a double standard. Quote: "If Regis tells a story about his kids, he's a doting father. If I do the same and people become easily outraged."
PHILBIN: I don't know what the reaction is that she gets from telling her stories about her kids. I have stopped talking, for the most part, about mine. Oh, every now and then I'll mention that Joanna is getting a law degree or J.J.'s writing out in Hollywood, but that's -- that's all because the kids have forbidden me, for all intents and purposes.
KING: They don't want it.
PHILBIN: They don't want it. So, I really don't include them. Kelly, you know, has got two little kids. Another one on the way. That's really her life. So in the morning...
KING: Your life is what's in the morning.
PHILBIN: Exactly. That's the script for the next show. So she invariably talks about them. I think they're -- they're cute stories. I know both kids. They're adorable so...
KING: Did the Cody and the Kathie Lee thing get on your nerves ever? Was that ever overdone?
PHILBIN: Well, Kathie may have stretched the thing on that a little bit, but again, that was their lives. She had both those children while she was with me.
KING: Why didn't it work, you and Kathie Lee? There was an edge.
PHILBIN: Larry, I like to think it has worked with every one of my co-hosts.
KING: But she was -- I know Cindy Garvey had a great time working with you.
PHILBIN: There you go.
KING: Who else worked with you?
PHILBIN: Sara Purcell was the first one.
KING: Not bad.
PHILBIN: Got a beautiful network out of that. Cindy was with me in L.A. and in New York. Ann Abernathy was with me for awhile. She married that Columbia executive, Leiberthal, when he moved out to the coast. And then Kathie came. And then Kathie was on for 15 years. Now that's a long time.
KING: Why didn't it work?
PHILBIN: Well, I think we got -- I think we got along great. I think she was an interesting -- she had all the things that I just mentioned.
KING: She was funny.
PHILBIN: Sense of humor, funny. She was a multitalented person.
KING: Now, I know -- professionally, did she make a mistake?
PHILBIN: Well, I have talked to her, you know, a couple of times about that since she's left and I believe her when she says she's very happy now. I don't know how she did it. Driving in from Connecticut every morning around 6:00 a.m., coming in and doing this show, I mean, with the two kids and all of that, and it must have been exhausting for her.
KING: How tough was it for you when the Gifford story broke, Frank and the other woman and Kathie had to live with that. And you have to be the -- I would only imagine that had to be one of the toughest spots in broadcasting to be part of that -- even though you may not have never talked about it, everyone knew you were thinking about it.
PHILBIN: Well, sure it was tough. You know, and I want to tell you something. When Kelly and I walk out, you know, that's how that whole thing began, holding her hand and it serves a couple of purposes. With Kathie, that's the first time I grabbed her hand and we came out together. And I wanted her to know I was there for her.
KING: Supported her. PHILBIN: Yes, absolutely. It was tough -- it was tough on everybody. But, gosh it was toughest on them. I felt for them. I couldn't -- couldn't have been a tougher situation than that. But I must tell you, she -- you know, one thing about Kathie Lee, she wasn't afraid to go out there and told everybody how she felt about it. And she did.
KING: She's gutsy.
PHILBIN: Yes, she's a very gutsy gal.
KING: The "New York Post" recently reported that King World is creating a show called "Living it Up" with Ally and Jack. Ally being Alexandra Wentworth, actress, wife of George Stephenopolous. Jack being the ex-ABC newsman Jack Ford. It's going to be a direct competitor of your. Now, the King World people are not dumb.
PHILBIN: No, they know what they're doing.
KING: Those brothers they know -- are you concerned?
PHILBIN: Sure, I'm concerned about everybody that comes up against us. Especially another duo. You know, it's a lot harder to pull off than it looks. And I know that Jack Ford has been in broadcasting a while. I don't know about Alex. I met her once. She seems like a terrific girl and that they tell me she's very funny and maybe, you know, they can pull it off.
But the -- the -- the edge, the rapport, all of those things that go into an on-air relationship really are built on experience, at least one of them has got to have vast experience to make it happen.
KING: What's the line in daytime talk in the morning between serious and light?
PHILBIN: We have always tried to keep our stuff light.
KING: Does that mean you would not book Colin Powell?
PHILBIN: We have booked Colin Powell, sure.
KING: Not to talk about matters of state.
PHILBIN: Colin Powell came out, we talked about the White Castle hamburgers we used to eat when we were kids up in the Bronx.
KING: So it's the light side.
PHILBIN: It's a light side of them, yes. We've had George Bush on, we had Dole on. We've had everybody on, but it is never been the serious, you know, political discussion. That's not my business.
KING: How about when the war was going on, the Gulf War?
PHILBIN: Well that was tough too. And we had Schwarzkopf on but only after they won so everybody was happy. KING: But you didn't have generals doing war discussions?
PHILBIN: No, but we did the headlines -- we did talk about, you know, that's part of our business, the headlines of the day. In fact, I think we started that. Now everybody is holding up the papers. But there they were and yes, we would refer to what was going on. But it was never heavy, never serious.
KING: Now you did -- I want to ask you about this when we come back, you did a primetime show.
KING: We'll be right back with Regis Philbin, the son of the fighting Irish. I love saying it. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: Here comes challenger. All of center field, coming closer and closer to second base. As challenger reaches second base, in swoopes four Navy jets. Right over the stadium, Whoa with a tremendous roar.
RIPA: They didn't hit the eagle, did they?
PHILBIN: No, but the eagle got scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: This is good, clean, American fun. What do you think?
RIPA: I don't think we can do this during primetime. It's too night time.
PHILBIN: What are you talking about? Have you seen daytime? Primetime's a piece of cake compared to what is going on in daytime television.
RIPA: You think?
PHILBIN: Absolutely. Look at us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Reeg. All right, you did a live show at night.
PHILBIN: Yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of more to come?
PHILBIN: Well, gee. I don't know, to tell you the truth. The network had an hour, they offered it us to.
KING: How'd it do?
PHILBIN: We took it. It did pretty well. Yes, it did pretty well. We were just there from -- what was it 9:00 to 10:00. No, 10:00 to 11:00.
KING: What did you do differently because it was night?
PHILBIN: Well, because it was night, basically it's the same show, Larry. It's Kelly...
KING: More guests, more...
PHILBIN: More what?
KING: ... famous guests?
PHILBIN: In other words, you not -- we're not -- you're not happy with our fame and our guests? What is it, Larry? What?
KING: I don't mean that. I mean did you have the president on?
KING: When Letterman does a primetime special, they have three, you know -- Jerry Seinfeld comes.
PHILBIN: We had our Ben Affleck, the producer of "Push, Nevada." Very hot now. I was out to Los Angeles. I did a segment with the girl from "Alias," Jennifer Garner, running up and down those hallways chasing spies. That was fun. And then the hit of the ABC network, John Ritter came on, and we had a lot of fun with him. He's an old pal. That show is there, their big hope now.
So that's what we did. But essentially it's the opening and some guests and that's the show.
KING: The Philbin/Letterman relationship. What is the story? He mentions you every other...
PHILBIN: I know, I know. And I mention him too. I think he's terrific. So do you. As a broadcaster...
KING: Like him, been on his show. Not like you, been on his show, he's been on our show.
PHILBIN: I'm a big fan of him. So the last time I did the show, you know, I'm trying to have dinner with him. There is no dinner with Letterman. No dinner with Letterman.
KING: No one has ever had dinner.
PHILBIN: And no explanation either.
KING: Rickles had dinner with him. PHILBIN: Rickles had it once. I can't get over it.
KING: But they hid and the hid in the basement.
PHILBIN: In the basement. Nobody can see them. No, a couple of times Don has had dinner with him.
But there's no explanation for me. No, I don't want to have dinner. OK, fine. I understand that. But I'm not going to let that go.
So now when I'm on the show, I say, Remember Rickles and Newhart, they went to vacation together all those years? I don't want dinner. I want vacation with you. Yes, where are we going go? Why don't we go to your ranch? We'll sit by a fire, we'll cook grub, we'll sit under the stars, we'll have fun. It will be a cowboy, humming songs. It will be great. We'll rustle cattle. No.
KING: Is he the quirkiest broadcaster you've ever known? You're quirky, but he's the quirkiest.
PHILBIN: Well, yes.
KING: Quirky. What other word describes him?
PHILBIN: But you know, that's the way it is with him. And I understand that. And he's still a good friend. If I needed something, you and he would be the two guys I would call, believe me.
KING: And by the way, I'm going to be proud -- proud to put your stamp on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
PHILBIN: Listen, I already asked Don Rickles and you and Don would be a terrific team.
KING: In December. I find myself walking over mine a lot.
PHILBIN: Where is yours?
KING: It is embarrassing. Right next to Frederick's.
PHILBIN: Frederick's of Hollywood oh, yes.
KING: Near Godfry (ph).
PHILBIN: Did you find out where your star is before they give it to you?
KING: I believe you do, yes.
PHILBIN: I'll have to ask, right? Because I can't...
KING: Scout out your star?
PHILBIN: Absolutely. I want a good location. Now that's really a thrill. Was it a thrill for you? KING: Major. They give you a duplicate of it.
PHILBIN: I know Don liked his.
KING: It's real, it's real.
PHILBIN: December 3, Larry. Keep that date open.
KING: I'll be there.
Recent stories about comics not getting booked on late shows. Older comics. What do you make of the demographic era of television?
PHILBIN: I think -- it's very hurtful I think. I feel very sorry for the older people in our business.
KING: They're still pretty funny.
PHILBIN: They're the best. They would build a story, each...
KING: Rickles is the only one, right? Letterman, Leno. Letterman's almost made a -- he owns Rickles. Not owns him but Rickles does Letterman more than...
PHILBIN: Don is happy to do it. Get that exposure.
It is a terrible thing. The whole emphasis on our business is on the youth. As guests, and the youth being aimed -- the commercials being aimed to them. It reached hysterical proportions where everything is now developed between 18 to 49, you know, and better than that 18 to 34. Let's get that core audience. They're not watching television to begin with. And they don't have two dimes to rub together to begin with.
KING: How has it affected your show?
PHILBIN: Well, our show at 9:00 in the morning, we're happy we get our share of college kids but see most of the young people are out working at 9:00 in the morning.
KING: You get the housewife? What percent are your women?
PHILBIN: I guess it's a heavy percentage of women. Although we do get a lot of retired male and guys who work the late shift.
KING: What do you make of the Dr. Phil phenomenon?
PHILBIN: I never really followed that on the Oprah show but I guess he was an enormous hit. And he's got his own show. You did the show.
KING: I guested it. I don't know if they showed it.
PHILBIN: Sometimes when these specialists come on -- and Dr. Phil is, after all, a specialist -- you wonder what the legs would be for a program like that. What were your thoughts? KING: I was impressed. Staff was terrific, set, great.
PHILBIN: Is there a problem you brought to his attention that you had.
KING: Yes, I did.
PHILBIN: What is your problem?
KING: OK, you want to help solve it?
PHILBIN: Yes. Dr. Regis, right here.
KING: I am a clock head. I live by the -- it's quarter to 4:00, where are you? Drive the wife nuts. Twenty to 2:00. I don't say it's 20 to 4:00. I say it is 21 minutes to 4:00.
PHILBIN: I like that. We're broadcasters and we're used to being on time for live shows.
KING: And how do we deal when we deal...
PHILBIN: That's a problem I have with Joy. Sometime she's is not there when I'm ready to leave.
KING: And what...
PHILBIN: We should be leaving.
KING: Here's what Dr. Phil said to me: What you have is an anger problem not a clock problem. You get angry too easily over something like a clock. Your problem is the anger and not the clock.
PHILBIN: You know, he's probably right. Because it does, it builds up anger, yes. And all of a sudden we leave on bad terms.
PHILBIN: And that's the beginning of the evening.
KING: And we pay for it.
PHILBIN: Yes, we do.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Regis. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILBIN: Save your prom dress. We'll take a look at it now. Here is Kelly's prom dress from 1988. That's her at Eastern High School in Voorhees, New Jersey. The No. 1 song that year was "Faith" by George Michaels.
So here is "Live's" prom queen herself, Kelly Ripa!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with our remaining moments with one of my favorite people and one of the great broadcasters, Regis. Great broadcasters are defined by the fact that nobody's like them. There will never be another Regis.
PHILBIN: And another Larry King.
KING: And there will never another Gotfreid. There's a lot to be said for longevity.
PHILBIN: I appreciate that. Who said that to you? Frank Sinatra?
KING: Frank Sinatra.
PHILBIN: How is New York doing? As I said we had one of the -- remember that night here?
PHILBIN: Yes. Yes, it was a tough night. was a tough night. It's been a tough year. And now here we are, could be on the eve of another war and that's not going to help us at all either. Tourism is down. I just read in the paper today tourism took a big drop this year and people are frightened by the prospect of another war.
And so, it's not going to help us because New York thrives on the tourists -- the people who come here to enjoy the city. I think it is coming back, though. It's come back in the last few months, but the year has been overall tough.
KING: What do you -- do you have thoughts on what you would like them to do down at Ground Zero?
PHILBIN: I've looked at all of the models. I don't think they've arrived at the right one yet. Nothing jumped out at me. I know there has got to be space reserved.
KING: Giuliani thinks a major thing should be the memorial.
PHILBIN: Well, it's a -- I think there should be a memorial down there. I don't know what perspective the building should be, but the memorial comes first and then around that you put in what you're going put in.
KING: Do you -- do you have fears like you hear of a car -- a tire blow in a car in New York, do you jump?
KING: You don't think about it?
PHILBIN: No, but times I live up high and sometimes I see the planes swarming on the way to La Guardia. And, you know, you do think about what happened before and could it happen again. KING: How you feel flying?
PHILBIN: That doesn't bother me flying. No,I think we're very safe flying.
KING: So you don't look around? You don't profile people?
PHILBIN: You made me a little nervous the other night but outside of that, everything was fine.
KING: I don't get nervous.
PHILBIN: No, you made me nervous by looking at you. It is a joke Larry!
KING: I didn't get it.
PHILBIN: Larry King!
KING: You're going continue --
What did ow mean? I don't know what ow means.
PHILBIN: We're both punchy.
KING: You're going continue doing nightclub acts? You opened -- you and Rickles have worked?
PHILBIN: Yes, of course. We did a week in Florida. That was a lot of fun. I'm going into Atlantic City and to the resorts October 25, 26, and 27.
KING: Now what kind of act do you do?
PHILBIN: I sing. This is what I don't like.
KING: I'm not laughing at you.
PHILBIN: I know, but I hate to explain my act because it sounds so hokey.
KING: I do an act. I go out and tell stories.
PHILBIN: I've seen it. You're very funny.
KING: I tell stories. But I don't sing, I don't dance.
PHILBIN: Well I do, Larry, I do.
KING: You dance?
PHILBIN: No, I don't dance. No, I don't dance.
KING: All right, ladies and gentlemen, Regis Philbin. What's the first thing that happens?
PHILBIN: I come out singing -- you make me feel so young you make me feel spring has sprung.
KING: And every time I see you grin...
PHILBIN: It's such a happy...
KING: Individual every moment you speak...
PHILBIN: I want to go play high and seek...
KING: I want to go and bounce the moon like a toy balloon...
PHILBIN: You're looking at me wondering what's he going to say? Maybe I'll play the piano. What is it -- I forgot now, you've made me so nuts.
PHILBIN: You know what? Who needs Susan Lucci. I got you!
We'll put a dress on you and take you anywhere.
KING: With Susan Lucci?
PHILBIN: La Lucci is, yes...
KING: La Lucci?
PHILBIN: La Lucci is my act, my opening act, yes. And then I bring her back and we do a little bit together.
KING: Is it as much fun as broadcasting? It's a different kind of fun.
PHILBIN: You know, it's a different kind of fun. It's a different kind of venue. Itt gives me a chance to see the people who watch during the week, you know.
So we have a little contact with them. And then I conduct a search for the next co-host. I ask anybody to come out of the audience and maybe five or six women will come up and we'll talk and we'll do an opening bit together.
And then one of them -- it's a long story. You to see it to believe it, Larry.
KING: White collar crime, Reege. You're getting away with it. Calling up women from the audience and they pay you.
PHILBIN: You know, I think what you do is more probably difficult. The speech.
KING: I like speaking.
KING: Because I like making people laugh.
PHILBIN: Do you tailor to each audience that you're working to? KING: Some of it. But I try to just make people laugh.
PHILBIN: Well, i saw you the other night. You emceed the Giuliani tribute near the end of his term.
KING: You were part of that.
PHILBIN: I was part of that. And you were great.
KING: Thank you.
So when you think about the future, you don't think -- you don't think about retirement.
PHILBIN: Not for the next three or four years, no.
KING: Might you some day hang it up?
PHILBIN: Well, I think so, Larry, yeah.
PHILBIN: What you do you want me at 90 coming out, Hello, everybody, Regis here.
KING: No, but if your health remains. And how is your health?
PHILBIN: Health is good. Partial tear here, partial tear there.
KING: How is the old ticker?
PHILBIN: That seems to be pretty strong.
KING: Other than the angioplasty, you've never had a recurrence?
PHILBIN: Just once. I had to go back about four months after the angioplasty. Sometimes they clog up.
KING: Do you ever get pain?
PHILBIN: No. No, I really don't.
KING: Do you watch your diet?
PHILBIN: Wish -- I could be better doing it. I notice you don't watch yours that much do you?
KING: What do you mean? I had a frankfurter the other day.
PHILBIN: You had two hot dog at Notre Dame and they vanished like that.
KING: Do you know a hot dog is a treat to me? I never see them. I miss them.
PHILBIN: I bet -- KING: By the way, they were great.
PHILBIN: They were good, weren't they?
KING: Jesus, Notre Dame has good hot dogs.
Regis, I thank you very much.
PHILBIN: Larry, always -- always a thrill to be here.
KING: Thank you for being you.
PHILBIN You betcha. Thank you, Larry.
KING: Regis Philbin on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Stay tuned for "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown.
You like him?
PHILBIN: Like him a lot.
KING: Aaron, I like him too.
PHILBIN: Yes, good broadcaster.
KING: How would you introduce Aaron Brown as Larry King?
PHILBIN: Now, ladies and gentlemen, CNN proud to present the 10:00 news with Aaron Brown.
KING: Stay tuned for that. We'll see you tomorrow. Say good night, Regis.
PHILBIN: Good night, everybody.
KING: Regis, what a guy! Tomorrow night, Bob Woodward, major new book, which gives us a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the president's war on terror. You won't want to miss it tomorrow night. For all of us at LARRY KING WEEKEND, good night.
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