Despite being banned from promoting her new CD on Live with Regis, Kathie Lee Gifford says she's game to return to her old stomping ground to talk about her upcoming E! Entertainment Television film, Spinning Out of Control.
"I'd like to," she told TV Guide Online at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "I had dinner with [Regis Philbin] Saturday night... we had a great time. You know, that's up to them. I'd love to go if they want me to. I'd be happy to."
In Pasadena to plug Spinning Out of Control — a dark comedy in which the former talk show host plays against-type as a booze-guzzling, cocaine-sniffing, power-hungry sitcom star — Gifford maintained her composure (and a hearty sense of humor) as reporters grilled her about Live's ratings rise in the wake of her exit, her reported rift with producer Michael Gelman and whether the bad blood has created tension between her and Reege.
Regarding her relationship with Philbin, Gifford insists that they have remained friends through the recent controversy. "We really have," she said. "Sorry, it doesn't make good copy, but we really have." And Gelman? "I haven't seen Gelman. Gelman and I were never good friends. I don't think that was, you know, any secret."
When a reporter asked her to comment on the spike in Live's viewership since her departure last summer, a poised Gifford replied, "You know what? Then, it was obviously the best thing for both of us."
During the 30-minute press conference that also included Spinning co-star Howie Mandel, Gifford couldn't stress enough how happy she's been since quitting her day job. "I thought I'd have moments where I missed it, but I haven't yet," she admitted. "They may come someday, but I just haven't. I've been so busy doing what I love doing and having so much fun."
And if her so-called squeaky clean image suffers as a result of her role in Spinning (which premieres on E! March 18), so be it. As it is, Gifford hedges, "I don't know that I have a squeaky clean image. Anybody that watched [Live] knew that I was very irreverent about an awful lot of things, and a very bawdy woman. I tell the best dirty joke that you've ever heard in your life."
And Gifford later proved her point when a reporter asked her who picked up the tab when she dined with Philbin over the weekend. (The journalist added that he assumed ABC's Millionaire man did — considering he's "making a lot more money.") Gifford's response had the jaded press corps rolling in the aisles. "How do you know that?" she quipped. "You know, my sweat shops do really well."