NEW YORK — Regis Philbin says fans have told him he makes them happy every morning.
“I’m glad I did that,” he says, “’cause it made me happy.”
But his decades of regular visits with viewers end after Friday, when he steps down from the New York-based show he has co-hosted for 28 years.
“I feel pretty good,” he told reporters after Thursday’s edition of “Live! With Regis and Kelly.” But he noted that he may not feel that good next week.
“I wasn’t looking forward to this moment,” said Philbin, who announced his decision to leave the syndicated show and try new things last January. “You never are in your life when you’re leaving a success that you worked your tail off to make.”
After Friday’s sign-off, the 80-year-old Philbin will embark on a book tour for his new memoir, “How I Got This Way.”
That’s fortunate, he said. It’ll take his mind off how he might be feeling Monday when “Live! With Kelly” goes on the air without him.
His book tour will have taken him to Miami then.
“I’ll probably watch the show from my hotel room,” he said, “and I’ll feel, ‘Omigod, it’s so far away.’ Maybe it’ll be better that I’m watching it from down there.”
Jerry Seinfeld will join Kelly Ripa on Monday as the first of a series of guest co-hosts. A permanent replacement will be named later.
Joining Philbin in the studio for the press conference, Ripa said her new partner would necessarily have a different style and forge a different dynamic with her than she has enjoyed with Reege since joining “Live!” in 2001.
“Will we be able to recreate the Regis magic? No, of course not,” she said. “Only Regis has that.”
She recalled that she had watched the show faithfully back when her predecessor, Kathie Lee Gifford, was teamed with Philbin.
“I’m the fan who got the job!” Ripa said wistfully. “I cry a little bit every day. He’s meant so much to me and to everybody.”
But now, does she look forward to solo billing as the show is temporarily retitled “Live! With Kelly”?
Ripa scoffed at that question.
“In our house,” she replied, “we still call it ‘Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.’”