Regis Philbin, host of Disney-ABC's Live! with Regis and Kelly, has no idea who they should hire to replace him, but he knows who they shouldn't hire: Keith Olbermann, who just departed MSNBC in what seemed like quite the huff.
"I don't think Keith Olbermann would get along with [Live! executive producer] Michael Gelman for ten minutes," Philbin, who on Tuesday night was awarded the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award at NATPE in Miami, told B&C Editor-in-Chief Ben Grossman during a light-hearted conversation Wednesday.
As far as other replacement options, Philbin said most of the people who have sat in for him in recent years already have good-paying jobs elsewhere. "Anderson Cooper has his own talk show coming out, so strike his name from the list. Mark [Consuelos, husband of Live! co-host Kelly Ripa] is there quite a bit and they get along fine on the air."
"It should be like an Illinois Senate seat and they'll give it away to the highest bidder," quipped Grossman.
Philbin admitted that he's not thinking much about who will be Live!'s next host, since the announcement only came last week and Philbin will remain on the show "through most of this year."
Philbin took Grossman through some of his early career, and told the story of how he and fellow Tartikoff Award winner Mary Hart, co-host of CBS Television Distribution's Entertainment Tonight, hosted a talk show together in 1982. The show was cut to a half-hour before it ever got to air, a move that Philbin said made it very difficult for him to shine because his show depends on his live day-and-date opening segment. That iteration of The Regis Philbin Show only lasted four months, and it wasn't until years later that Philbin found out who really pulled the plug on that project: a young NBC executive named Brandon Tartikoff.
Of course, Philbin quickly found his way, heading to New York to host a local morning talk show on WABC. That show evolved into the program that Philbin still hosts today -- nearly 30 years later -- with Ripa.
In the end, television has always had to be live for Philbin. "Live means everything to me," he told Grossman.