Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa

What's hotter than being timeless? On Friday, our fave curmudgeon Regis Philbin will depart Live! With Regis and Kelly, a 28-year New York gig that's helped land him in the Guinness World Records as the performer with the most hours on U.S. television. And he is not, repeat not retiring! Here Reege reflects on his awesome success and the changing times.

TV Guide Magazine: You're 80 and still relevant. Explain yourself.
Philbin: I've been at this TV thing over 50 years. I think I've endured so long because it took me so long to get here — I won't give up! But I don't worry about staying on top of things. Maybe that's my secret. I haven't learned the Internet yet. Or the Tweeter. And I'm fine with that. Who needs it at this point? That's why I always use diagrams on the show to explain myself to the audience and show them what went wrong in my life yesterday. You get an old piece of cardboard and scribble on it with a marking pen. Works for me!

TV Guide Magazine: What's the secret to your great chemistry with lady cohosts?
Philbin: I had no choice! [Laughs] Back when I was doing talk shows in Los Angeles — we're talking 35 years ago — I was told that the business was changing and that every male host or news anchor would from then on be sitting next to a woman. So I made it my business to make sure that little chemistry thing happened with every gal I worked with, from Mary Hart and Sarah Purcell and Cyndy Garvey to Kathie Lee Gifford and now Kelly. Of course, a whole lot of the credit goes to them.

TV Guide Magazine: When you leave Live!, who will incessantly remind us that Dean Martin was the greatest star ever?
Philbin: [Laughs] And don't forget Perry Como! They were the irreplaceables, the indestructibles. You know, Elvis Presley was Dean's biggest fan. He used to hide out in the bushes at the Riviera Hotel in Vegas just to watch Dean swing at a golf ball. Those were the giants! I was lucky to come up through the years knowing the stars who made real impact.

TV Guide Magazine: And today's stars?
Philbin: So many of them are pretty, they're fun, whatever. It's a little simpler to become a star today. You have a big voice, you can get on The X Factor. Or you can be a Real Housewife and all of a sudden you're the talk of the nation! Dean and Como worked their way up through the ranks for years and years before they became true stars. They really earned it. Look, I don't mean to discourage anybody that's out there today. I don't want to put anybody down. This is what's happened to our business, and God bless those who can make it.

TV Guide Magazine: We're all being such spoiled brats about your exit. It's all about us! 
Philbin: I hadn't thought about it that way but you're absolutely right! It's turned into a little bit of a circus, hasn't it? Some of the viewers are kind of offended. "You can't do this to us!" It's like they're the ones paying my salary. [Laughs] But, in a way, I guess they are!

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