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Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Who should replace Regis Philbin? We have six ideas. We're not claiming they're good ideas.

By Liz Kelly

Clockwise from top left: Larry King (Getty Images), Kathie Lee Gifford (AP), Neil Patrick Harris (Reuters), Betty White (Getty Images), Jay Leno (Reuters), Ricky Gervais (Reuters).
Gallery: Regis through the years

Crestfallen fans of Regis Philbin have now had 24 hours to process the news that he plans to retire, at least from "Live with Regis and Kelly," by the end of the year. And so it is that we must move on, or risk coming apart at the seams as old-format TV talk continues to deteriorate.

But can the show, which Philbin originated 28 years ago, survive without Reeg? It's doubtful that another 79-year-old with his moxie and ability to mix-it-up with everyone on lists A through D exists. But, in the spirit of keeping the show alive, we offer six candidates who could reinvigorate the format and make it must-watch morning viewing.

Ricky Gervais: We know he won't be hosting the Globes again, but maybe we'd welcome him in a less glitzy setting? One in which his acidic humor would temper the bubbly sprite that is Kelly Ripa? His first guests could include pals Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. and the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Kathie Lee Gifford: Sure, she's got the whole fourth hour of "Today" thing going for her, but you know she'd drop Hoda in a hot minute if she happened to be asked back to "Live." And, like it or not, the woman is a spitfire with pop culture cred to spare (pop culture cred meaning she's a frequent target of derision on "SNL").

Jay Leno: The genius of "Regis and Kelly" (and "Regis and ____," for that matter) is the show's ability to appeal to a wide swath of daytime viewers, especially the blue-haired set -- who looked to Philbin to translate this tweet-crazy "Jersey Shore" world for them. Leno, who has practically zero appeal for the 18-35 set, would be a good bet to keep that audience sated. And it would take him out of the late night talk equation. Finally.

Neil Patrick Harris: NPH topped our online poll results yesterday when we asked readers to weigh in with suggestions. But would the gig be too limiting for NPH and too off-putting for the blue-hair set? Maybe not.

Larry King: What morning TV needs is more suspenders and someone familiar with lobbing softball questions at guests. And, really, we've been waiting for years to see this guy not sitting behind a table. What are those suspenders holding up?

Betty White: Let's turn the show's formula upside down. Get rid of Ripa. Bring in the 89-year-old 2010 "It" gal and pair her with some young, hot dude. Perhaps Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos? That way, the family won't be losing any significant income.

Related: Who should replace Regis?
Poll: Your reaction?

By Liz Kelly  | January 19, 2011; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, TV  | Tags:  Regis Philbin  
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Comments

I think Billy Crystal would be a great replacement for Regis Philbin. He's funny, diplomatic, classy, funny, personable, and not bad looking. Hey Billy! Are you up for this kind of gig?

Posted by: beachcomber1331 | January 19, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Take a page from the ancient Egyptians and have everyone involved with the show ritually killed, embalmed, mummified and entombed with Regis to ensure he gets all the care and comfort he needs as he travels the afterlife.

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 19, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

There are crestfallen fans of Philbin?

Posted by: kabuki3 | January 19, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

NPH would be magnificent. If only we could be so lucky. (Although you know who might be even better? Snoop Dogg. I would tune in on a daily basis, if only for the inevitable lols.)

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | January 19, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I am backing a dark horse for the seat next to Kelly when my dad releases his chair: Shepard Smith from Fox News.

Posted by: djphilbin | January 19, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Shepard Smith is my pick to be seated next to Kelly.

Posted by: djphilbin | January 19, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Frank Gifford.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 19, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Nosy, Frank Gifford doesn't qualify. The name of the program is "Live...."

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 19, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

SPLOOT!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 19, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

A mannequin wearing a Donald Trump wig

Posted by: pejochum | January 21, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Why does he need to be replaced? Actually why does this show exist at all?

Posted by: speedyfastcat | January 21, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Kelly Ripa is the most arrogant, ungrateful phony, who worked tirelessly to snicker at Regis and create an unflattering portrait of him in order to get rid of him and get her husband (who seems like a nice guy) into the job.

Kelly seemed like a nice girl when she first came on the show, but she quickly developed delusions of grandeur about her own self-importance. (We had to laugh as she hoisted her anorexic body onto a big cushion in order to appear taller than Regis.)

Her mania for exercise has made her into a haggard crone with matchstick legs inserted into five- or six-inch heels on which she totters around. What a joke!

We will never watch the show once Regis is gone. His charm and his wealth of stories and connections to anyone and everone in show business made the chat time fun and interesting. His charm and modesty made him a favorite of so many people and we will truly miss him.


Posted by: regisfan | January 26, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Kelly Ripa is the most arrogant, ungrateful phony, who worked tirelessly to snicker at Regis and create an unflattering portrait of him in order to get rid of him and get her husband (who seems like a nice guy) into the job.

Kelly seemed like a nice girl when she first came on the show, but she quickly developed delusions of grandeur about her own self-importance. (We had to laugh as she hoisted her anorexic body onto a big cushion in order to appear taller than Regis.)

Her mania for exercise has made her into a haggard crone with matchstick legs inserted into five- or six-inch heels on which she totters around. What a joke!

We will never watch the show once Regis is gone. His charm and his wealth of stories and connections to anyone and everone in show business made the chat time fun and interesting. His good natured sense of humor and modesty made him a favorite of so many people and we will truly miss him.


Posted by: regisfan | January 26, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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