After nearly three decades hosting the show that became "Live With Regis and Kelly," Regis Philbin stepped down Friday with a few well wishes to his colleagues and fans.
Philbin — who, in his 50-year broadcasting career has earned the Guinness World Record for "Most Hours on Camera" — stressed that he is moving on, not retiring. The show will be renamed "Live with Kelly," next week, with Jerry Seinfeld joining Ripa as a temporary cohost. Ripa replaced Kathie Lee Gifford in 2001.
Philbin's goodbye show Friday included a reworking of "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent," with new lyrics tailored to his goodbye. It also included Disney CEO Bob Iger unveiling a plaque bearing Philbin's name and image outside the show's studio, and Ripa recalling the 43 steps she and Philbin took together each morning to the stage. The audience included Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, Katie Couric, Donald Trump, Tony Danza, and Diane Sawyer.
The show saved Philbin's goodbye for last.
The host, known for not using writers and talking off-the-cuff, seemed, this time, to have composed a few remarks in advance. He thanked his co-hosts and producer, Michael Gelman, and noted that he had been with the show for twenty-eight-and-a-half years.
"Some people ask, why has the show stayed on so long? And I think it's answered to me every time peope tell me why they watch it. They watch it, they say, because it makes them feel better. And it can't get better than that. It makes them happy and I'll never be able to top that," he said.
"And I'll never be able to answer all of the cards and letters and messages that have poured in, especially in the last few weeks, but I'll always remember spending these mornings with all of you. So thank you very much for these great years together. God bless you all, and I hope I see you again real soon."