Regis: Never at a Loss for Words


After recently being named host of both Fox's New Year's Eve Live and ABC's upcoming This Is Your Life remake, Regis Philbin continues to thrive in a business that knows him on a first-name basis. B&C's Ben Grossman spoke with him about his new projects and where the TV business is headed.

After filling in for Dick Clark on ABC last year, this year you'll be back in Times Square for Fox, and you've said you'll be down in the crowd. You better hang on to your wallet.

That's probably my biggest worry about this whole thing. Seriously, it should be fun. I had fun doing the ABC show last year, and it was a nice surprise when Fox called. This deal is just for one year with options for both of us, but it sounds like a lot of fun and something I hope to do down the road. They've been great about letting me weigh in to shape the show; now I just need to find out what the heck is going on in the music world so I sound like I know what I'm talking about.

You've also signed on to return to ABC prime time. Don't you ever want to just relax?

C'mon, this isn't work. I love my morning show and the freedom I get in the first segment especially, but these are chances to try some other things.

The Fox thing is just one night and the ABC thing is just six or eight specials, but if the phone keeps ringing, I'll keep picking it up.

Live With Regis and Kelly is still going strong, but isn't the syndication business getting tougher?

Yeah, the business gets tougher every year, especially in daytime. Getting the right chemistry for a show is hard enough, but if you don't get the right time slots and the right stations, you are dead before you start.

Look at Tony Danza. He's a great talent and is doing great in certain markets like out here in New York after us … but it's tough to do coast-to-coast.

With the TV news business in a state of transition, where do you see the industry going?

The big changes right now are not just in the personalities but in format.

Look at what CBS is doing with Bob Schieffer. Now when they come out of a report on Iraq, for instance, there is some more conversation and back and forth about the report, more like the news magazines blended in.

What do you think about TV on iPods and cellphones?

I know TV is going to all these iPods and everything, but I have one question: Who cares? What do you want to watch on an iPod? Do you really need to see me on all that stuff? I don't!