Regis Philbin on Keith Olbermann: ‘I don’t think he’d get along with Gelman for 10 minutes’

By Chris Ariens 

What’s next for Regis Philbin? Will he take a page from Oprah and create his own network? “No, Regis wants to relax a little bit,” he says. Will he pair up with his former co-host (for six months in 1981) Mary Hart: “She is an institution in her own right. That might be fun.”

Whatever it is, don’t call it retirement.

Philbin sat down with B&C editor Ben Grossman this morning at the annual NATPE conference in Miami Beach. “It was kind of awkward and not easy,” said Philbin of telling co-host Kelly Ripa and producer Michael Gelman of his departure. “I was nervous.”

As for possible replacements, Philbin says “it’ll be up to the ABC people and Gelman and Kelly.” But what does he think about Keith Olbermann taking over: “I don’t think he’d get along with Gelman for 10 minutes.”

Philbin, along with the also departing “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Mary Hart and NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol, was honored last night at the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award dinner. In 1981 Philbin and Hart co-hosted a short-lived NBC daytime talk show that was canceled by then-network head Tartikoff after 6 months.

30 years later, he takes pride in telling the NATPE crowd that when he brought his talents to ABC: “Every day of every week of every year for 28 years we beat NBC at 9 O’Clock. They (the third hour of “Today”) did come back, and last month they had a week where they topped us.”

B&C's Ben Grossman warmed up Regis Philbin with ice cream bars ahead of his interview this morning at NATPE.