Simon Cowell Opens Up in Emotional Gratitude to Regis Philbin – ‘I’ll Always Remember What You Did For Us’

The late television host Regis Philbin’s impact in the entertainment world was far-reaching. From talk shows to live programs to game shows, the entertainer was up for anything.

Simon Cowell, after the former Live host’s death, communicated his thanks for the television pioneer’s support at a time when Cowell sorely needed it.

Regis Philbin hosting Season 1 of 'America's Got Talent' with Piers Morgan, Brandy Norwood, and David Hasselhoff
Regis Philbin hosting season 1 of ‘America’s Got Talent’ with Piers Morgan, Brandy Norwood, and David Hasselhoff | Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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Philbin hosted ‘America’s Got Talent’ in its first season

In 2006, the inaugural season of the amateur talent competition America’s Got Talent, Regis Philbin served as the show’s first host, lending his support to the new program. The role had Philbin flying from New York City to Los Angeles regularly in order to fulfill his duties on both Live With Regis and Kelly and the new talent search show.

Ultimately, Philbin’s health issues and the strain of constant flying wore on the entertainer and his role was assumed in 2007 by talk show host Jerry Springer. The Jerry Springer Show star made clear according to Forbes that while he was replacing Philbin, “no one fills in for Regis. He’s the best there ever was at this so you pay homage to him.”

America’s Got Talent continues as a hit for NBC, thanks in great part to Philbin’s support of the program early on.

Regis Philbin on 'America's Got Talent'
Regis Philbin on ‘America’s Got Talent’ | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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Simon Cowell’s heartfelt tribute to Regis Philbin

Simon Cowell, America’s Got Talent‘s executive producer during season 1, expressed after Regis Philbin’s death in July 2020 his gratefulness for the entertainer’s presence at the outset of the show.

With Philbin and judges David Hasselhoff, Brandy, and Piers Morgan, the show’s first season was an enormous ratings success.

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell | Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Cowell recalled to People in July 2020, “When we had the opportunity to work with him when we launched AGT, he was a big reason why we managed to get the show off the ground in the first place. The fact that he took a chance on something brand new, I said to him afterward, ‘I’ll always remember what you did for us.'”

“For him to agree to do it — it involved a lot of traveling,” Cowell continued — “he was an absolute delight to work with. Every time I met him, he was always happy, gracious, a real gentleman and a total pro.”

Another former ‘AGT’ star posted a tribute full of praise for Regis Philbin

English broadcaster and journalist Piers Morgan also expressed his sadness to hear of Philbin’s passing and his gratitude at having worked alongside the television icon just for the one season of the talent show.

“Incredibly sad to hear about the death of the great Regis Philbin,” Morgan tweeted. “Got to know him when he hosted Season 1 of ⁦@AGT⁩ and he was one of the smartest, funniest, most entertaining & talented TV presenters to ever grace the small screen. Was so kind & generous to me. RIP.”

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