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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Regis Philbin

Aired May 13, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the man America can't get enough of. The one, the only, Regis. He's here for the hour. No telling what's going to happen. Regis Philbin next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. One of the great pleasures in coming to New York is that we get the chance to spend time with one of my favorite people on the planet, Regis Philbin, the Emmy Award winning host and executive producer of "LIVE with Regis & Kelly." Emmy Award winning host as well of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." So much to talk about, so little time. We'll try to get to...

REGIS PHILBIN: Nice to see you again.

KING: You know the last time you were here was after I had gone through Ground Zero.

PHILBIN: Yes, sure.

KING: You and the mayor.


KING: That was some night.

PHILBIN: Some show you had, yeah.

KING: Are you over that yet?

PHILBIN: Well, it's tough, you know. And every now and then, you'll see an old movie and there they are standing up. And I was just down there the other night for the Robert DeNiro Tribeca Film Festival. And, I don't know, it's -- the air is still heavy down there.

KING: All right, let's first deal with some things. You're always in the -- "Regis Quits" in the "Enquirer."


KING: The "Examiner," "'Quit Show Before it Kills You,' Joy Says to Regis." "Regis Stabbed in the Back by Kathie Lee." "Kathie Lee Attacks Kelly Ripa."

(LAUGHTER) Which one of these by osmosis is true?

PHILBIN: Well, none of it is true. I'm not quitting. I'm not going anywhere. Joy is not fearful I'm going to drop dead unless you've heard something. But, no, I guess -- I don't know how those guys arrive at those stories, but there's always some insider saying something about -- not true at all.

KING: Kathie Lee, that part. She's angry. She was never given an...

PHILBIN: I see Kathie Lee. She's not angry about anything. She's having the time of her life, and I really mean that, because I watch her carefully. I wonder, too, how she's feeling, you know, whether she misses -- after all, it was 15 years getting up every morning and coming down and sitting there with me and doing the show together. There's no sign of it. She's happy for me, she's happy for Kelly, and she's happy for herself.

KING: What do you make of it then? Is it just they have to have something?

PHILBIN: You know, I don't know. I don't know how -- what the origin is, where it comes from, or maybe it's just speculation. I think sometimes it is speculation that they feel that, well, there's a story there. She must be home eating her heart out. From what I see, she's not.

KING: It does come and go, though, doesn't it? It sort of eats itself up (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for the issues out, then it's something else.

PHILBIN: Yeah, exactly, yeah. There's always something new.

KING: What happened to "Millionaire"?

PHILBIN: Well, you know, Larry, tomorrow, the ABC network is going to announce their fall schedule and...

KING: We're on tape so it's been announced.

PHILBIN: Yeah, I know. No, not yet. Tomorrow is Tuesday.

KING: Oh, so we're playing this Monday because -- oh, I see.

PHILBIN: Yes. See, I'm way ahead of you now.

KING: You're hip on the tape scene.

PHILBIN: Let me pick it up from your question.

KING: OK, go ahead. I didn't know that.

PHILBIN: You know, Larry, tomorrow, ABC is putting up their offense (ph) for the new schedule, for the new season. And I still don't know whether or not -- how they're going to use "Millionaire," whether it's going to be one night a week or short verse, as they say, you know, where we'll do, like, eight shows in a row every night, or whether we'll be on at all, whether they may...

KING: You don't have any idea?

PHILBIN: I really don't know. And I've tried to find out. And, frankly, they didn't know either. I know over the weekend they were huddling out in L.A. putting the final touches to the schedule. But they'll make the final announcement, and once it goes on the board tomorrow, then they're going to stick with that.

KING: All right, should they, in retrospect, have done it as other countries -- Britain did it -- as special, always special? You know, one week at a time, ten times a year or every other month.

PHILBIN: Yeah, I kind of miss that. That was a lot of fun, especially at the beginning when it took everybody by surprise. Now to bring it back in short spurts might be a liability because now the surprise element isn't there. But starting a new season, maybe they want to see what the new shows look like without interruptions. You know, with the World Series and everything going on in the fall, it's tough to get a line on your schedule. So maybe they'd like to introduce new stuff. I don't know.

KING: Do you fear that you might be eliminated entirely?

PHILBIN: Could be, could be, yeah, sure.

KING: You were -- such a high when you were rising up. And remember when you came on the show before?

PHILBIN: Yeah, but I didn't know it was going to be that big, believe me. When I said to you...

KING: But you said you were...

PHILBIN: ... "I'm going to save the network"...

KING: Sitting in that seat, you were going to save the network.

PHILBIN: Exactly. You got it, Larry King.

KING: And you did for a year.

PHILBIN: Absolutely.

KING: You bet your eye you saved that network.

PHILBIN: It was fun. It was great fun.

KING: They got greedy, though, didn't they?

PHILBIN: Well, they added more times than they should have. Even they admit that. They kind of wore out the appeal. But Larry, if you look from -- at last year's ratings when the dust settled, at the end of the year 2001, talking about the 2000, 2001 season, "Millionaire" was number three, number five, number seven and number nine in the overall household viewing. Where they missed was in the younger demographics. I guess the kids, you know, there wasn't any sex, there wasn't any smut, so maybe some of the kids got bored with it and left. But overall viewing and households, we were right there.

KING: How about the Regis ride with all the clothing and everything else?

PHILBIN: Oh, it's great.

KING: That was a riot.

PHILBIN: It was a lot of fun. I mean, did I ever think that Van Heusen, Philip Van Heusen would be coming to me saying -- I've seen their ads for years in the magazines, you know, the shirts.

KING: Pants sometimes.

PHILBIN: Oh, sure.

KING: And you have become a symbol.

PHILBIN: There I was. And the tie guys. You know, ties. Outside of you and me, nobody wears ties anymore. The tie guys were so happy to have me. They gave me Man of the Year award of the Tie Association. Oh, it was great.

KING: Another thing. I'm in Vegas last week with our friend Rickles...


KING: ... and my wife sang.

PHILBIN: I heard she was great. I heard she was great.

KING: She was. Slot machines, Regis slot machines.

PHILBIN: I know. That's another byproduct of this whole thing. But I'm not the only one. Dick Clark's got that.

KING: Yeah, but your machine has -- you can win a lot of money at those.

PHILBIN: Not only that, but I talk to the person putting the nickels in.

KING: Put some more in.

PHILBIN: Yeah, come on. Let's go. What are you afraid of?

KING: Did you all the time know that this is a ride and it could go down?

PHILBIN: Oh, I knew it all the time. Larry, you know...

KING: Well, you can get carried away sometimes.


KING: Anybody could.

PHILBIN: Yeah, I knew what was happening to me, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. But I also know -- because I've been around so long as you have -- that there's an end to all these things and it's cyclical. And my main bread and butter is what I do in the morning. And what was ever happening in primetime was delicious, and I hope it continues, and I think it deserves to continue. But someday, it's going to come to an end.

KING: There were stories that you were ticked that you weren't considered for the daytime, which I understand Miss Vieira now has that.

PHILBIN: No, no, no, no, no. I was never -- I told them from the beginning, Larry, I swear to you...

KING: I didn't see how you wanted to do that.

PHILBIN: I didn't want to do it. It would be too much. I didn't want to do it. And I was never ticked, and I'm glad Meredith Vieira us doing it. I think she's the right choice, and God love everybody.

KING: And that will be an ABC daytime show?

PHILBIN: It will be -- no, syndicated...

KING: Syndicated.

PHILBIN: ... on area stations, not ABC. And we'll be on the daytime.

KING: They can't give away a million dollars every day, can they, or can they?

PHILBIN: Well, I don't think they will, but they could.

KING: No. I mean, it's the same money, same...

PHILBIN: Same thing. And frankly, we never knew who was going to be lucky enough to win that million dollars. Of course, nobody knows if -- what you know.

KING: How can you do a daily? Is she going to tape?

PHILBIN: She's going to tape, yeah. It's going to be tough.

KING: It's going to be Herculean.

PHILBIN: She has no idea what she's getting into.

KING: Same set? PHILBIN: You have 10 computers. You have 10 contestants, has to go to the bathroom. Computer breaks down. Stop tape.

KING: Same set?

PHILBIN: Same set, yeah, pretty much, yeah.

KING: Regis Philbin is our guest. We love him. We'll be right back.


PHILBIN: What did you think it was before we went into this?

BERNIE CULLEN, CONTESTANT: I thought it was "L."

PHILBIN: "L," I'm sorry.

CULLEN: I thought it was "L" or "N."

PHILBIN: "L" is gone.

CULLEN: "L" is gone. "N," A, final Andersen, Regis.

PHILBIN: He just made a million dollars.




KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST: How was your Mother's Day, Reg?

PHILBIN: Well, thank you for asking? Well, I was going to buy Joy a little trowel, you know.

RIPA: A trowel, yes, which I know she would...

PHILBIN: That was just a joke for all of you to be amused with. But I did get her a beautiful pair of Sarah Roberts gardening gloves. And we did a little trimming around the house, planted a few -- what do you call those, Gelman? They come in flats? Impatiens, yeah. And had a wonderful day. Then we had a little cup of warm cocoa at night.


KING: We're back with Regis Philbin on LARRY KING LIVE. One astounding thing is, this announcement is coming tomorrow. You have no idea what it's going to be. You either can have a show on once a week, maybe twice. They won't do twice a week?


KING: It'll be once a week, a stretch of weeks or nothing.


KING: Are you nervous?

PHILBIN: No, not really, no. I appreciate their problems. You know, I'd love for it to continue, Larry, but you know, I understand if there are other priorities. Maybe it'll be on later in the fall, maybe next year or maybe never. I'm prepared to live with it, Larry.

KING: I understand that, because you wanted that show.

PHILBIN: I wanted that show to succeed.

KING: You fought for that show.

PHILBIN: And it succeeded like no other show has succeeded in recent times.

KING: Correct. Maybe...

PHILBIN: So maybe it's a homerun.

KING: ... you'll have to go back a long way to find another instant hit like that.

PHILBIN: So maybe that was my moment, you know.

KING: Why did you know it would go well? You knew that night.

PHILBIN: Oh, I was so sure.

KING: Were you faking me out?

PHILBIN: No, I was so sure it was going to go, because I had never seen anything like it at the time, the ability to poll the audience and get an instantaneous result, call somebody long distance and get their input for the contestant. It was very, very exciting. And when I first saw it, the British version of it, I knew it. And it took them two years to put all of that together, to -- you know, to get all the little ruffles smoothed out. And they did a wonderful job and handed it to us, and we ran with it.

KING: Mutual friends of both of us would say, "Regis is killing himself. He's doing his live show every morning, and this ain't just your normal tape show. One hour took three."

PHILBIN: Yeah. When we did -- when we did four nights a week, it got a little tough, yeah, absolutely. I have to admit it to you. I would do the morning show, and then just walk over to the network side of the building here at ABC in New York and sit down and start it up again and introduce the 10 contestants, and then introduce the 10 -- the fastest finger question, and pick one of them, put them in the seat before you finally got to asking them the questions. Yeah, it was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it.

KING: How did you react to suddenly all this -- I mean, you've always had attention. You've been a famous television personality. But all this incredible attention and all the people who were happy for you.

PHILBIN: People by and large, my friends, seemed to be very happy for me. They knew how long I'd been around.

KING: The industry was happy.

PHILBIN: Yeah, I think so.

KING: Did you see any signs of jealousy?

PHILBIN: A little bit here, but I don't want to talk about that now. Not at all. I really didn't. But I'm sure there must have been somebody who said, "Why him?" You know, frankly, anybody could have done that. Any broadcaster could have done that show. I got lucky I got it and I ran with it.

KING: What makes a good quiz show host?

PHILBIN: What I've tried to do...

KING: Let's say you were hiring. You're retiring. It's staying on. You're hiring the replacement. What do you want?

PHILBIN: I want a guy who will develop an instant rapport with the contestant, who will make that contestant feel more confident, relax him, give them the ability to think clearly, and become his friend.

KING: Root for him.

PHILBIN: Yeah, root for him. Now you can only root so much, you know. And there's no clues -- you don't even know what the answers are. But if you have that quality, I think the audience at home picks up on that. They want the guy to win, too. That was the whole appeal of the show. And I want to tell you a mistake we all made. Too many celebrities. The guy at home wants to see the man walk in off the street, sit down, and walk out a millionaire. That was the appeal of the show.

KING: I don't need a millionaire actor who's going to give it to a fund.

PHILBIN: To charity. It was all nice, well intentioned. But the real appeal of the show was that fact, that guy coming in the door.

KING: Did you sense that?

PHILBIN: Yeah, near the middle of it, I really did. Inasmuch as I enjoyed sitting there and talking with the celebrities and having a few laughs, most of them were friends of mine, still, I knew what the guy at home wanted. They wanted...

KING: Good point. Did you watch the show when you traveled? I saw it in South Africa. Really interesting.

PHILBIN: You know...

KING: The guy wears outfits just like you.

PHILBIN: Oh, yes. And I met a lot of those hosts.

KING: Ran (ph), a million ran.

PHILBIN: Oh, was that what it was, yeah? And did they ever win?

KING: I think -- I guess the same percentage as you did.

PHILBIN: I guess there was a hit all over the world. I mean, it really was something. The guy in India is the number one actor, and he insisted that this become his show, and he got it, too, even though he wasn't...

KING: Do you think Meredith will do well?

PHILBIN: Yeah, I think so. I mean, she's a broadcaster.

KING: Yeah.

PHILBIN: She's been around a long time. She played the game. She won, as I recall, a quarter-million dollars for her charity. And, you know, exposure on "The View" will do her -- will serve her well, and the show will benefit.

KING: And she'll continue with "The View," right?

PHILBIN: Oh, yeah, yeah.

KING: So tomorrow, we'll know, folks, if Regis will still be in your home at night.

PHILBIN: That's right.

KING: On what kind of basis.

PHILBIN: You got it.

KING: And then they'll all flock to you for some statement, right?

PHILBIN: I guess.

KING: You were critical for a couple of minutes, weren't you?


KING: Management.

PHILBIN: Well, I was disappointed but I understood that they had nothing else, so they went with the one that was getting the homerun. And even at the cost of hurting the show, we did make a lot of money for ABC, and they did enjoy high ratings.

KING: How did it feel to finally win that Emmy?

PHILBIN: It was nice. And I won two in the same night. I'd never won one before. And all of a sudden, it went my way, and yeah, it was a thrill.

KING: One thing can pep you up.

PHILBIN: How many Emmys do you have?

KING: One. But we were only eligible. You know, cable just became eligible two years ago.

PHILBIN: You have the Ace Awards.

KING: Ace Awards.

PHILBIN: How many Aces?

KING: Twelve.

PHILBIN: Twelve, oh. Oh, you're a giant.

KING: Oh, stop it.

PHILBIN: Oh, yeah, you're a...

KING: We're two figures here. We got it going here.

PHILBIN: Love being with Larry. I love that voice: "Regis, when, why, who, why? Who, Regis, who?"

KING: All right, you threw me, because I forgot what I was going to ask you? OK, the concept now of going -- doing the daytime. Did you ever think when "Millionaire" was cresting, "I'm going to give that up in the morning. I don't need that anymore. I make enough money. I don't have to get up."

PHILBIN: No, I didn't. No, I...

KING: Not for a moment?

PHILBIN: No. I enjoy that show, and I'll tell you why. The first 20 minutes, just like this, spontaneous, ad lib, and that is my satisfaction in life.

KING: Open up the paper, let's do it.

PHILBIN: Let's do it. And that's what I really enjoy, Larry. So I never thought of giving that up. And I didn't have to give it up. I mean, if the four nights a week were going to run for years, then it would be a problem, because, you know, it wears you down. But, no, I love doing it. I love that morning show.

KING: Now the selection of Kelly Ripa.

PHILBIN: Yeah. KING: That process, what was that like for you with the tryouts on the air?

PHILBIN: Well, you know, I used it selfishly because I would have guys like Don Rickles on whom we both love, and it was a lot of fun. So I would have people like that in addition to people who we were actively considering for the show. And so Kelly -- we used her as a guest about 11 years ago, and boy, she was, you know, a young kid in her 20s. And, boy, she was bright and a lot of fun, bubbly, and yes. So we brought her back and tried her again in the host seat, and she was equally good. Brought her back a second time, and yes, she was fine. And the network liked her a lot. You know, she had a good reputation for being spontaneous and humorous and fun, and so it was a perfect match.

KING: Well, having been on with the two of you, she blended right in.

PHILBIN: Yes, she did, right away.

KING: That's not easy.

PHILBIN: It isn't, especially when you follow like someone like Kathie Lee.

KING: That's right, ebullient and...

PHILBIN: Sure. But she was spontaneous enough and fun enough to make it her own niche in the show, and she did it.

KING: Back with more -- oh, in the next segment with Regis, Regis has a new feature coming, and we're going to feature it for you right after this.


RIPA: We have a couple of martinis and then we go out to dinner with our friends.

PHILBIN: You had two martinis before you went out?

RIPA: Between the two of us.

PHILBIN: OK, all right.

RIPA: One a piece.

PHILBIN: All right, that's good.

RIPA: We have 15 martinis.

PHILBIN: Ah-hah.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. We're not live tonight. We were taped last week. We're always honest with our audience. And so this is Monday night, and tomorrow, the announcement about "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." But there's always something happening in Regis' life. Regis is never just doing one thing. He's opening in theaters. He does acts. He does a musical act.

PHILBIN: Atlantic City, June 14th.

KING: June 14th.

PHILBIN: Lady Kazan.

KING: Where?

PHILBIN: At resorts.

KING: Resorts.


KING: Saw you at Disney World running around with Mickey.

PHILBIN: That's right. Yeah, we had a lot of -- that's right. We had a good time there.

KING: OK, what is the new -- this feature?

PHILBIN: Anyway, it's May, it's sweeps. Every week, Gelman has to get something going, a theme of some kind. And so, you know, all of this exposure about Johnny Carson from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the article in "Esquire" magazine, Johnny speaks, you know. Johnny, all of a sudden, is really hot again, and so I said, you know, "I've got an interview with Johnny from years ago." And we looked at that, and I said, "Boy, that would" -- and then we decided we have a bunch of interviews, so let's make -- Gelman calls it "Regis Remembers." Is that corny or what?

KING: So you begin by saying...

PHILBIN: I remember Johnny, yes.

KING: And you're going to show it every day.

PHILBIN: Every day, a different one every day.

KING: One every day.

PHILBIN: Now did you ever do Johnny Carson? I'm sure you did.

KING: Did him on radio when he was -- from the New York World's Fair in 1964. I came up with my Miami radio show, and we did him at the NBC studios.

PHILBIN: And he was still doing it from New York.

KING: Doing it from New York. He was hysterical.

PHILBIN: So anyway...

KING: When did you interview him?

PHILBIN: Well, I tell you, Larry, I moved out to New York -- back to New York in 1983, and in the winter months, you know, I wasn't used to it. I spent so much time in California, so I said how can I get back to L.A. for at least a week or something. And I thought, well, gee, what about an interview with Johnny? Unheard of at the time because Johnny gave interviews.

KING: Because he felt he had to do it for everybody if he did it for one.

PHILBIN: That's right. So I said, "Well, let's" -- I called Peter LaSalley (ph), his producer. I said, "Peter, I'd love to come back, and I would love dearly to do a little interview with Johnny. Maybe if I just met him in the parking lot as he drove up at 2:00 in the afternoon, and we'll take it from there." If he feels like it, he'll show me what he does the first 10 minutes he gets there." So Peter worked it out, Johnny said, fine, and we did. And not only did I meet him in the parking lot, we went to the wardrobe, we went to the set, and I got to sit in the king's chair. And what I'm going to show you is a little bit of that.

KING: All right, let's -- let me intro this.

PHILBIN: Go ahead.

KING: Folks, watch this. Regis remembers.


PHILBIN: Hi, Johnny. And you just go right behind there and you sit down like the king you are. And we sit right there. Why is that dog barking at me? Boy, is this nice. And then you get the -- sometimes you get the pencil.

JOHNNY CARSON: Don't touch anything. No, no, no, no.


PHILBIN: No, no, no. But you get that pencil and you get to whack t it, and then once in a while, you throw it at Fred.

CARSON: That's right. That's right.

PHILBIN: There's the clock right there.

CARSON: OK, Regis, time's up.


Next person.



KING: Amazing that a man that funny is that reclusive.


KING: Of course, he is funny, funny.

PHILBIN: Oh, he is. He really is.

KING: And bright.

PHILBIN: A good sense of humor and ready to talk about almost anything and never really came out.

KING: Now Neil Diamond.

PHILBIN: Neil Diamond. You know, Larry, I love these singers who have been with us all these years, and Neil Diamond had that great deep voice. And every now and then, I would break into a Neil Diamond song: "Hello, my friends, hello."

KING: Hello.

PHILBIN: Then I couldn't stop singing it. I mean, that's all I would do is sing Neil Diamond. So one day...

KING: "Sweet Caroline."

PHILBIN: Yeah, exactly. So one day, he comes in to do an appearance at the Garden. I said, gee, I would love to have Neil Diamond on the show. I'd love to sing a little song with Neil.

KING: Once again, Regis remembers.

PHILBIN: Please.


NEIL DIAMOND: Hello, my friend, hello.

PHILBIN: Just called to let you know.

DIAMOND: I think about you -- well, every night.

PHILBIN: And I know it's late.

DIAMOND: But I couldn't wait. Take it, Reg.




PHILBIN: Now, I guarantee you'll be singing that all night.

KING: Yeah, I know.

PHILBIN: Absolutely.

KING: Hello, my friend.

PHILBIN: Hello, my friend, hello.

KING: They kid him a lot, yeah. But as Sinatra once said, there's a lot to be said for longevity. If you're around a long time, don't knock it.

PHILBIN: Exactly, yeah, absolutely. And he...

KING: And now your friend, David Letterman. He's been with us, he's been on shows, but he is -- you've been on his show how many times?

PHILBIN: You know what? I'm second to Randall, Tony Randall, in terms of being on the show, yeah, at least 80 times.

KING: Have you been friends for a long time?

PHILBIN: Not really, but I'll tell you, the first time we met is this particular piece of tape. Now let me ask you...

KING: Really?

PHILBIN: ... have you ever had David here?

KING: Yes.

PHILBIN: Oh, you did.

KING: Had him here and had him at his own studio and then had him on my radio show.

PHILBIN: Oh, well. But this was a few years ago?

KING: Yes.

PHILBIN: Because you know how he is now.

KING: Since the heart surgery, forget it.

PHILBIN: That's right. So but even in the old days, he still was a little bit of a recluse.

KING: He was always hard to...

PHILBIN: Yeah. So one day, I'm over at NBC, and I'm just back in New York, and NBC is having a page reunion. And I served as a page for a while. And so I went to this reunion with the microphone and the crew and did whoever was there for this reunion. And they told me David Letterman's on the sixth floor finishing his show in about 10 minutes. I said, really. I said, "Wouldn't it be funny if I went down there?" And I didn't know he was so private. If I go down there with my camera and I show up and I interview David Letterman as he walks off the show on the cuff, on the fly. Let's do it." I had no idea what I was getting involved with. But this is part of that interview.

KING: Once again, Regis -- let's do it...

PHILBIN: Together.

KING: You do it.

PHILBIN: Regis remembers.

KING: Regis remembers.


PHILBIN: OK, here at NBC, David Letterman's show has just wrapped up. You know how tough it is to get him. You know what a recluse he is. He should be walking out any minute.



LETTERMAN: No, no. I don't have to talk to this man.

PHILBIN: Yes, it's an NBC reunion.


PHILBIN: No, you must talk to me.

LETTERMAN: Security, Marty. No, no.

PHILBIN: Now wait a minute.

LETTERMAN: Someone with the network, get this guy out of here.

PHILBIN: No, please, please, I want to...


KING: Good beginning.

PHILBIN: But I hung in there like Larry King when I knocked down that door until he let me in.

KING: Back with more of Regis Philbin, including another remembers after this.


PHILBIN: Los Angeles has been without pro-football I don't know how many years now but... RIPA: Don't they have the Raiders?

PHILBIN: ... I'm sure it's just a dream. No, the Raiders moved back to Oakland. Yeah, it was about 1894 the Raiders -- no, the Raiders have moved back to Oakland.

RIPA: But that's still in California.

PHILBIN: Yes. But you understand it's not a state team, it's a city team.

RIPA: Wow, OK.

PHILBIN: The Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles, didn't like it, didn't get along. Whatever it was, moved back to Oakland.

RIPA: OK. But the New York Jets play in New Jersey, right?




PHILBIN: Well, here it is, the beginning of a brand new era on our show.

RIPA: He can still barely believe it. He can't get the words out.

PHILBIN: I can't believe I got married again. To a pregnant woman.

RIPA: It was a shotgun wedding.

PHILBIN: No; but we announced last Monday that Kelly Ripa would be the new co-host, and this is our first official day together.


KING: These “Regis Remembers” bits, which I -- as I said to Regis during the break, I think should run either every day or do a yearly special of “Regis Remembers”.

PHILBIN: I think Gelman asked the network and they said

KING: They said no?

PHILBIN: No. I think so. Yeah.

KING: With all the people you've had on?

PHILBIN: Yes, I think so.

KING: We have one more “Remembers” to show, Carroll O’Connor.

PHILBIN: Oh, Carroll O’Connor. I loved him, as you did , too. And what a wonderful guy.

And he was also -- you know, he wrote some of the theme music to that wonderful show, the neighborhood show.

So, one night I’m in St. Louis -- I had a show in St. Louis for a while, on the weekends I would go to St. Louis.

KING: You're kidding.

PHILBIN: Yes, and I would tape four shows one weekend a month. It would air on KMOX-TV.

So anyway, all these wonderful people would come through St. Louis, and Carroll was there, I had a chance to sing the theme song with him.

KING: This is in St. Louis.

PHILBIN: In St. Louis, in the early' 70s.

KING: You do this one.

PHILBIN: Here I am, remembering Carroll O’Connor.




PHILBIN: And that was fun.

KING: That really touches me.

PHILBIN: Well, me too. You see that old Irish face there. Yeah.

KING: And you, Regis, what were you 11?

PHILBIN: How did you like all that hair?

KING: Wow.

PHILBIN: But you haven't changed at all, have you? You’ve always been

KING: I’m 68. How old are you now?

PHILBIN: I'm 68, too. But anyway -- I’m a little bit older than that.

KING: You're a little older than 68?

PHILBIN: Yeah, 78. No, I’m kidding.

KING: You were doing a show and going to St. Louis? PHILBIN: I would jump on A plane on Fridays and fly to St. Louis, do one show Friday night, one show Saturday afternoon, the live show Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon, one more show, and then fly back to L.A.

KING: How did this even get arranged?

PHILBIN: Tom Batista (ph), a friend of mine, who was my first director, in San Diego, was then running the station in St. Louis, and said come on, let's do what we did in San Diego, and that's what we did.

KING: You are so many things. What are you? Are you an interviewer who's an entertainer? Are you a humorist?

PHILBIN: Why don't you tell me. You're the surveyor of all men. I don’t know what I am.

KING: On your driver's license, what's your occupation?

PHILBIN: Host. I don't know what to say on those things. TV host.

KING: Did you enjoy being a sidekick?

PHILBIN: Well, I'll tell you, I was surprised that I got picked. Joey had seen me interviewing Joe Pine (ph).

KING: Wow, Joe Pine (ph).

PHILBIN: He was a tough guy, he really was. And he called me, we had an interview, and he liked me, and I got the job.

And then I said my gosh, this guy is with Frank Sinatra and Dean and Sammy, you know, and I’m going to meet all those guys.

KING: The Rat Pack.

PHILBIN: The Rat Pak. And national exposure. I mean, it was a lot going on on that show and a chance to learn how they did it on network television. It was a wonderful three years and I did meet an awful lot of people.

KING: Then you had a big hit show in L.A.


KING: Cindy Garvey (ph) was with you and other women.


KING: Then you came east with her, right?

PHILBIN: Then she was in the east, and I came out here in 1983, and she was here so we banded together again.

KING: Why did you come to New York?

PHILBIN: I was out of work for a year and a half.

KING: I didn’t know that.

PHILBIN: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

KING: And they were betting against that show here, weren’t they, when you first started?

PHILBIN: Oh, yes. What does he do? You know, that kind of thing. He just sits there and talks, you know. So, yeah, it was tough to get it going again, but we did.

KING: What did do you when you weren't on?

PHILBIN: You know what I did? I became a specialist in Pac man. I was great in Pac man. Pac man was hot at the time. And I didn’t want to go out. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. You know.

I went around the country. I did sports in Denver. I did an early morning show in Chicago, WLS, before

Yeah. It was a lean time for me in L.A..

KING: Was Joy hopping around with you?

PHILBIN: No, Joy was at home with the kids and I was getting on a plane, flying to wherever I could get a job, and then flying home when I could.

And so I did all those things, and I had the thing in St. Louis, too, so I was really whipping around the country trying to make a living.

And, see, ABC was mad at me because I had gone over to NBC. Grant Tinker (ph) had called and offered me a job with a morning show.

KING: And they didn’t forgive.

PHILBIN: They didn't forgive. No. By the time I got over to NBC, they said, well, David Letterman was just here with a morning show, it didn't go over. David was doing his nighttime show in the morning, and I guess it just wasn't right.

So I went in there with my morning show, and the sales guys cut me down to a half hour and NBC before I ever got on the air.

Now, a half hour, Larry, I can't do it. You know, I need 20 minutes to do the opening thing. It’s not the same show.

Lost that show, out of work, gone.

Finally, my agent Jimmy Griffin (ph) called John Sevarino (ph), then the president of ABC, who was my general manager in Hollywood, and said if you think with your heart -- if you think with your head not your heart, maybe you'll take him back.

And he thought and he said OK you can come back.

KING: Was it great for a New York boy to come home?

PHILBIN: It was great. It was great.

KING: You grew up here.

PHILBIN: I grew up here. To come back and smell the spring and the fall and see the tar bubbles in the summer in the pavement. All those little things came flooding back to me. It was a great, great beginning.

KING: The attachment to Notre Dame. We'll talk about that in a minute.

Regis Philbin is with us. It's always a great pleasure to see him. We hope that ABC -- well, what do you want them to announce tomorrow? What's your wish?

PHILBIN: Seven nights a week or forget it.


Keep that tape. It’ll be part of “Larry Remembers”. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE “MILLIONAIRE” CONTESTANT: I know this. It was the Sikorsky helicopter, so I’m going to make Sikorsky my final answer.

PHILBIN: You just won $2 million.


PHILBIN: There you go. There you are. Good for you.


KING: We're back with Regis Philbin.

Before I continue, he says he has a surprise.

PHILBIN: I’ve got a surprise for you.

KING: I hate that because...

PHILBIN: Well, I know. Everybody hates that. But you're going to enjoy this, because I had such a laugh.

You know, my wife Joy does the HGTV, Home and Garden TV. And there, she brings home some tapes, and there's Larry King and wife Sean. And every guy goes through that renovation period, you know.

So I culled some excerpts from that interview, because you were so funny. You were so funny talking about the job you had to do in your house, which I guess still continues to this day.

KING: It’s forever.

PHILBIN: Take a look at Larry King, now, talking about the renovation period of his home.


JOY PHILBIN, HGTV HOST: Sean and the realtor showed it to Larry, who also loved it, because it was already perfect, or so they thought.

KING: They pointed out to me that the big advantage of this house is since we’re paying for the furniture, too, it's a turnkey. Open the key, go in the house, that's it.

We have never been without a construction gang since we moved into this turnkey. There's one thing remaining from the house we bought, and the other day she said that has to go.

J. PHILBIN: They have been renovating since they purchased the 10,000 square foot home in 1998. It has been a long process, but Larry says Sean has always relied on his input. Well, sort of.

KING: She has a way of expressing herself that's just delightful, in which she would say to me, for example, what do you think of the carpeting in your bathroom? And I said I like it. And she said, you like that? And once they say, “you like that,” you know it's gone. It's gone.


KING: I had no idea you were going to do this.

PHILBIN: Oh, my God. I know you didn't, but I howled when I saw that.

KING: That show, that House and Garden Show which Joy hosts is unbelievable. More people have come over to me and said I saw your house, I saw your house. It’s unbelievable.

PHILBIN: And, incidentally, what a house we have, don’t we? We're living high on the hog.

KING: You're doing bad?

PHILBIN: But later in the show, Larry, there's a doorbell, it rings, you go to the door, the guy says I’m the piano mover.

And Larry says to the guy, sorry you got the wrong place, we don't have a piano. The guy says, you do now.

KING: That's exactly the way it happened. Did you have anything

PHILBIN: Oh, well, I got to show you mine.

Now, I come to New York

KING: You got yours on tape too?

PHILBIN: Yes. You’re going to see a little bit.

The shock I had, from moving form L.A. to New York, you know, whether you live in an apartment, whether you like to or not, it's cramped, it’s crowded and it needs, guess what, a renovation.

Here’s my story.


PHILBIN: So this is it. I’m about to take you on the tour of this place.

Now remember, they said to me, all you need is a paint job. Paint job, and it's finished. It's all yours. Don't worry about a thing, we'll paint it nice, you'll be in before you know it.

You ready? Take a tour with me. Got to get the door fixed first.

OK. Here we are. Paradise. Come on.

Now, this is going to be like the entryway right here. And over here we have a beautiful hall closet. Look at this, it looks like Berlin in World War II.

Look at all these bags, aren't they nice and charming. You know what this is from, all of these bags -- you should have seen it before they put it in the bags. It’s from here. This is going to be my bathroom.

Look, look how pretty. I'm up here all day with this big sledgehammer, giving it this.


KING: A paint job.

PHILBIN: Can you believe it? A paint job is all, he said.

Anyway, but it turned out pretty good. I don't know if we have that film or not. Do we, guys?

KING: How it finished?

PHILBIN: Yeah, how it finished.

No, but that was the beginning of it, it went on for months. KING: As our mutual friend George Slaughter (ph) said, the three words you do not want to hear from a construction head is “by the way.”

You hear “by the way,” that's dollars, that's money.

PHILBIN: Another three years.

KING: Why is that? Why do they have to -- women that do this. Men don't care, right? You move in, it's nice, you got a bed, you sit down, OK.

PHILBIN: That’s right. But, you know, in the long run, look what happened to you. You got a palace now, right? I mean, it really is a beautiful house.

KING: Yes, it does feel good.

PHILBIN: And Joy did the same thing in our place, too.


PHILBIN: Yeah, I do. Do you?


PHILBIN: And then I think what would I do. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know what else to do.

KING: How many years in your current contract?

PHILBIN: Next september.

KING: Then you'll definitely renew, right?

PHILBIN: Who knows, Larry. I mean, I could -- I’d like to renew.

KING: You get your social security check?

PHILBIN: Yes, as a matter of fact, do you?

KING: Yeah. Isn’t that weird?

PHILBIN: Yeah. I paid in all these years, where's mine.

KING: It's weird, the first time I got it.

PHILBIN: Oh, I know. Makes you feel like an old guy.

KING: Come on. We’re not getting a social security check.

PHILBIN: But you like to get it, don't you?

KING: Why that incredible gift to Notre Dame? PHILBIN: Well, gosh, you know, I just did the auditorium up in Cardinal Hays (ph), on the concourse, my old high school, and now Notre Dame.

I think these schools meant -- formed a lot of who I am, and so I’m just trying to pay back and make it nice for somebody else to come along and enjoy what I enjoyed there at Notre Dame.

They made a great big entertainment complex with four different stages, and my stage is where a student can go out and act out his dreams, where he can create something, if that's what he wants to do.

And so, that's my

KING: It's called the Regis Philbin Studio.

PHILBIN: Yeah, it's going to be the Regis Philbin Studio.

KING: Cardinal Hays (ph) is a very famous high school in New York.

PHILBIN: Yes, and they had the same auditorium for 60 years.

KING: You gave them a new one.


KING: Did you always want to go to Notre Dame? Was that a Catholic kid’s wish?

PHILBIN: No. My father was a marine lieutenant in the Pacific and got to meet Moose Krauss (ph), the old Notre Dame athletic director. They used to sit in front of the fires out there, in the Pacific in the islands, and Moose would talk about Newt Rockne and Notre Dame, and my father got all fired up.

And when it came time for me to go to college

KING: You’re going to Notre Dame.

PHILBIN: Notre Dame. I never even thought of of it. So I went and was so happy I did.

KING: I want to ask you about leaving the city and South Bend.

We have one segment left -- I always learn something new every time I talk to Regis.

PHILBIN: Too much, if you ask me.

KING: Regis Philbin. We'll be back with more of “Regis Remembers”. Don't go away.


(APPLAUSE) PHILBIN: Come here, buddy.



KING: We're back.

Our remaining moments with Regis Philbin. It always goes too fast.

Another thing I noticed, your country estate is going to be in “Architectural Digest.” So is my house.

PHILBIN: Is that right?

KING: Look at this. A Irish and a Jewish kid, here we here, “Architectural”

PHILBIN: I can’t believe it.

KING: Can’t believe it.

PHILBIN: No, I never in a million years thought I’d be in that one.

KING: When apartment I grew up in, what the heck are we doing in “Architectural Digest”?

PHILBIN: Oh sure. Yeah. I go up to the Bronx to look at my old house

KING: Don’t you do that?

PHILBIN: Yeah, it’s for sale now.

KING: Pinch yourself, you go home.

PHILBIN: Yeah, I know what you mean.

KING: What was it like to go to South Bend, for a New York City kid?

PHILBIN: To go to South Bend was really an eye-opening experience for me. But it was wonderful. I mean, Notre Dame, right away, I felt that spirit.

KING: What you major in?

PHILBIN: Sociology.

KING: What did you want to do?

PHILBIN: I didn't know. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I mean, I wanted to do this

KING: Oh, you did want to be a broadcaster?

PHILBIN: … but I didn't have the guts to tell myself go for it.

KING: Did they have a broadcast department?

PHILBIN: And I would go and almost knock on the door and go in there and say may I sweep the floors. I just want to see what goes on behind these doors.

I went up to the door, I could not knock on the door.

KING: Did you go to all the games?

PHILBIN: All the games, of course. Of course.

KING: It's also, as Father Hesseberg (ph) told me once, what annoyed him a little, it's one of the great teaching institutions in the world.

PHILBIN: And never got its due as a teaching institution. And Hesseberg (ph) did change that over the years.

KING: It's a football school -- that’s what it’s known as.

PHILBIN: But now it's very academically active and...

KING: Are they going to turn it around this year?

PHILBIN: I talked to the coach. I hope so. He’s a good guy, this Ty Willingham (ph) -- strong, confident, straight ahead, never stop, let's go, you know, one on f those guys.

KING: Do you go to all the games?

PHILBIN: Not all the games, no, but I do get back there every year, sure. And it's a thrill to walk on that campus. You’ve been to Notre Dame.

KING: Never been there.

PHILBIN: Come on! Don’t tell me that.

KING: Never been there, I swear. Never been there.

PHILBIN: Oh, I'd love to introduce you to it.

KING: Why don't I go with you to a game this year?

PHILBIN: You got it. Stanford game, I’m going to. OK?

KING: Whenever you go, I’ll go.

PHILBIN: The first Saturday in October. Will you?

KING: You got it. The first -- I’m going.

PHILBIN: You're there, you're going to love it.

KING: What is that like?

PHILBIN: You'll feel it. You’ll feel Rockne. The four horsemen, the Gipper, Regis, everybody is there.

KING: Do you also go crazy with the basketball team, too?

PHILBIN: I love them, yeah, especially now. The new coach is in and he's got the team cooking. Mike Brady (ph) is doing a great job. It’s a great place, Larry.

KING: Three years ago, we wold have never guessed there would have been a “Millionaire.” So, if I’d of asked you three years ago, anything else you want to do, you'd have probably said I’m very happy with...

PHILBIN: And I was, until I saw that show. And I said

KING: Is there anything you'd like to do?

PHILBIN: No. I don’t think so. I love your job, to tell you the truth, but it looks like you're pretty healthy, so...

KING: Why don't you sit in one night?

PHILBIN: I'd be happy to sit in for you.

No, there's nothing else I want to do, Larry. I’m happy. I’ve got my

KING: What did you make of Letterman almost switching?

PHILBIN: No, didn’t think that would happen.

KING: You never thought it would happen?

PHILBIN: Why would he leave? He's got a great theater on Broadway, he's got what he wants. It's perfectly run -- you've done the show, you know it runs like a clock.

I would -- no, I didn't think he should have left, personally. ABC -- we would love to have him

KING: Well, he got more promotion now. They promote him now.

PHILBIN: Oh, absolutely. Now he's got the upper hand, I would say.

KING: He’s really -- with all his privacy and everything, he's a good person, you know.

PHILBIN: Oh, sure he is.

KING: But he -- he's unique. PHILBIN: He is very unique. And I understand that, and I appreciate that. And so you don't crowd him too much, you know. You're just happy to be able to say he's a friend.

KING: Do you enjoy fame?

PHILBIN: Yeah, I guess I do. It’s fun. “Hey Regis,” especially here in New York, you know, you walk down the street and 14 cabbies are yelling at you and the bus driver and the sanitation guy, and it’s fun.

It would get on somebody else's nerves, I think.

KING: You're a New Yorker, so...

PHILBIN: I'm a New Yorker. And my job is to go out there every night and the next day have something to talk about. And so I

KING: Does Joy enjoy broadcasting?

PHILBIN: I think she does. She likes it a lot. And she's got a terrific show over there on HGTV. And she pinch-hits for Kelly, and she does a fine job. Yeah, she likes it a lot.

KING: When she works with you, is that harder, easier or no difference?

PHILBIN: It's different, of course it is. You're there with your wife. But I think -- she's been doing it so long, 25 years, however, since we started the co-host thing back on channel 7 in L.A. That -- I enjoy working with her, because it's a different insight into what we do and who we are, and she provides that. You know, it's

KING: Do you remember why you wanted a co-host?

PHILBIN: I didn't. I didn't.

KING: You mean they said you would

PHILBIN: It was 1975 and the whole business was going co-host. You're the last guy who is working without a co-host, believe me. In '75 every newscast had the guy and the gal.

KING: That’s right. The man and the woman.

PHILBIN: And so -- but, I think for our purposes, in the morning, at 9:00 in the morning, with a largely female audience, I think it's the right thing to do.

KING: Yeah, it works.

PHILBIN: Absolutely.

KING: And you're second to “Oprah,” right? PHILBIN: Yeah, right behind “Oprah” and happy to be there. You know, we've withstood all of the changes in our business, the sleaze factor came and went. You know, it all came and went. And I’ve been doing essentially what I’ve been doing now all these years.

KING: What do you make of “Oprah”?

PHILBIN: It's a phenomenon, isn't it? It really is something.

KING: She's more than just a person.

PHILBIN: I was in a grocery store the other day, at the checkout there, at the magazines, and there's Oprah's magazine. Oprah on the cover.

KING: She's on every cover.

PHILBIN: Every cover. And in this particular, there was six different pictures of Oprah on the cover.

No, she has really done something with her life.

KING: Have you ever wanted to act, Broadway play?

PHILBIN: No, I did that one, I played "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum." I was Dagmar's son. Dagmar was my mother.

KING: I love that show.

PHILBIN: George Goeble (ph) was the slave, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I was the young virgin boy, hero. And it was a lot of work, Larry. It's a lot of work.

It's not like us. You come in here, you work your brains out for an hour, and you go hope. And yeah, there's preparation, but the actor's life is not for me.

KING: Regis, I wish you -- the best thing I can say about you is, I wish you everything you wish yourself.

PHILBIN: Thank you very much, Larry, same to you.

KING: That’s how much we care about you.

PHILBIN: And I love you, too.

KING: And whatever the announcement is tomorrow, you’re on the rise.

PHILBIN: OK. Thanks, very much.

KING: Regis Philbin.

And don’t forget to tune in every morning when Regis once again remembers.

Stay tuned for NEWSNIGHT with Aaron Brown.

For Regis and your truly and our homes, good night.