Why Regis Philbin Didn’t Talk to Kellly Ripa Before the Shows

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa hosted Live! With Regis and Kelly from 2001 until his departure in 2011. In an interview, Ripa revealed Philbin didn’t talk to her before the show aired each morning. Here’s what Showbiz Cheat Sheet knows about the real reason he avoided her.

Before Kelly Ripa, Regis Philbin hosted the show with Kathie Lee Gifford

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa | Spencer Platt/Newsmakers
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa | Spencer Platt/Newsmakers

Kathie Lee Gifford hosted alongside Regis Philbin on Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee from September 5, 1988 until July 28, 2000. In his book, How I Got This Way, Philbin said the show changed his life.

“What a life-changer that was,” wrote Philbin. “For both of us. Next thing we knew, our names and personalities became so hopelessly intertwined that wherever either of us went—and I mean anyplace in our actual separate off-camera lives—people couldn’t understand where the other one of us was.”

Why Regis Philbin didn’t talk to Kelly Ripa

Back in 2017, Ripa spoke to The New York Times about her experience hosting the show with Philbin. One statement that stuck out for a lot of fans is that Philbin refused to talk to Ripa before the shows. “Regis had a mandate: Absolutely no talking off-camera,” Ripa tells the publication. “He had almost a superstition about it. You save it for the show. I’d be like, ‘Good morning,’ and he’d say, ‘Save it for the air!’”

In his book, Philbin said he wanted the interaction between him and his co-host to be spontaneous. He felt the best way to be spontaneous was to refrain from talking before the show. It’s a policy he had ever since he began working with his first co-host, Sarah Purcell, on the television show A.M. Los Angeles. Here’s what Philbin said about the way he worked:

This was a daily show—with a co-host—and I soon learned that it would require developing a near-instant rapport and chemistry with the other person. There would be no meetings to discuss what we would talk about.

In fact, we wouldn’t even speak to each other—and some mornings, not even see each other—until we went on the air. Which continued to be my unchangeable and quite essential preshow policy with every other co-host to come. In other words, I was hoping to keep it entirely spontaneous. Whatever we wanted to say to each other needed to be said first in front of the cameras.

Regis Philbin in ‘How I Got This Way’

Things were tense between Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin after he left ‘Live! With Regis and Kelly’

During an interview with Larry King, Philbin said Ripa took it personally when he left the show. “She got very offended when I left,” said Philbin. “She thought I was leaving because of her. I was leaving because I was getting older, and it wasn’t right for me anymore.” Although Philbin said he was never asked to come back, ABC says he did return for a 2015 Halloween special and Ripa received him warmly.

Philbin also told The Insider he was just feeling tired. “I left and I think she resented that,” said Philbin. “I wasn’t trying to dive from her, but I was a little tired. And I was just turning 80. So, I gotta get out of there.”

Read more: Regis Philbin: A Look Back on His Life and Career

Follow Sheiresa @SheiresaNgo