In a VIP article published a few days back, I shared with RedState readers the respectful, video tribute that ABC’s New York affiliate played Saturday, after news broke that television legend Regis Philbin had passed away Friday at the age of 88 of a heart attack — but that marked just the beginning of the remembrances for the legend by his tv “home” for more than fifty years of his broadcasting career. Those tributes continued all week long, and will culminate on Friday with a special episode of the morning show that made Philbin a household name.
But, let’s start at the beginning:
RIP Regis Philbin, the broadcaster and game show host born and raised in the Bronx. He got his start in broadcasting in 1955 as an NBC page for The Tonight Show. He worked on WABC's morning show starting in 1983 and was joined there by Kathee Lee Gifford two years later. pic.twitter.com/BfcNP7yG6B
— The Bowery Boys Podcast (@BoweryBoys) July 25, 2020
And this was how Regis and Kathie Lee looked and sounded in an early promo for the show, which was then still called “The Morning Show”:
Not surprisingly, as WABC reported, the celebrations of the man’s life were especially evident on his old morning show, now hosted by Kelly Ripa and co-host Ryan Seacrest; the show has put a little bit of tribute into every episode this week.
But the network provided Regis fans with copious, other opportunities to remember him this week, among them video montages on several, marquee ABC – Disney programs. For example, there was the video of Regis visiting with the co-hosts of daytime show, “The View.”
“Good Morning America” (GMA) shared a longer look at the entertainer’s career, a six-minute montage titled, “Remembering Regis.”
But there was still more throughout the week, even in evening programming.
Early in the week, the long-running, syndicated game show, “Jeopardy” (which airs on CBS and ABC, depending on the market), re-aired a 1992 “Celebrity Jeopardy” episode — the first-ever episode on that theme, WABC reported.
Regis Philbin's 1992 appearance on the very first installment of "Celebrity Jeopardy!" is airing tonight in his honor. "We proudly present it now in memoriam and with love." https://t.co/cIopfXkLQK
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) July 27, 2020
But”Jeopardy” producers admitted the episode had already been picked out “weeks before Philbin’s] death,” as part of a four week-long dip into the show’s Vault:
“Jeopardy!” producers called selecting the episode an easy choice: It featured Carol Burnett, Donna Mills, and Philbin in “an entertaining and spirited competition.”
“That choice has been made even more poignant with the passing of Regis Philbin this weekend,” according to the “Jeopardy!” team.
The episode, they said, was chosen weeks before his death to show “our gratitude to Regis for his friendship to the show for so many years. We proudly present it now in memoriam and with love.”
And in a refreshing case of role reversal, Alex Trebek — more recently — played host to Regis Philbin — in every sense of the word. On his docu-series for GSN, “Gamechangers,” the wry game show legend serves his guest a sandwich in Trebek’s kitchen, then invites Regis to explain how “Millionaire” came about. Included in the clip is a bit of Philbin’s “Jeopardy” appearance:
In the spring of 2020, the producers of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” — the game show that helped to kick off the game show rating boom of the 2000s — invited the original host back to sit in his chair and quiz current host, Jimmy Kimmel. Here’s a clip of it:
But the workday week comes to a close today. And it’s time for me to share what final surprise ABC has planned for its viewers.
WABC’s “On the Red Carpet” reports “Live with Kelli and Ryan” will dedicate the entire show Friday to Regis Philbin’s memory, by airing “an updated presentation of the Emmy Award-winning “Regis Farewell Celebration Special” episode from Nov. 18, 2011.” It was Philbin’s last day hosting the program where he spent 25 years.
Here’s just a taste of what that will look like, via the Associated Press: