The only time I ever really see Live With Regis and Kelly is in the moments after I come to work in the morning. But I regard the pending retirement of Regis Philbin, which he announced January 18, as another "end of an era".
Interestingly, the talk/variety show hosts who really came to prominence on syndicated and cable TV in the 1980's are retiring or changing focus. Oprah Winfrey is ending her show this summer to focus on her new cable network. Larry King, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, stepped down in December. And now Regis has given "Live" his "final answer".
Predictably, his possible replacements, on which media writers were already speculating 24 hours after his announcement, are those who have substituted for Regis on the show. Names like Neil Patrick Harris, Jeff Probst, and Jimmy Fallon.
The arguement against some of these names is that they're already committed to other projects. Harris is still doing "How I Met My Mother" (for the time being), Probst is still a fixture on "Survivor", and Fallon is hosting Late Night. There are others who also have their own careers.
If you want to know who will succeed (no one will really replace) Philbin, consider what happened when his former co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, left the show in 2000.
Back then, there was also speculation some of Philbin's guest co-hosts might replace Gifford (at the top of the list was Philbin's wife, Joy, who has long been a guest co-host. None of the names were the final choice. Of course, the job went to Kelly Ripa. (And Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, is mentioned as a possible Regis replacement.)
My guess is that the producers will go in a completely different direction than everyone's speculating about. That's because finding anyone who will do what Regis has done is nearly impossible.
Probst himself said, "there's only one Regis".