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Regis Philbin says contract squabbles pushed him out at 'Live!', eyes return to primetime

Regis Philbin

(Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)

When Regis Philbin surprised fans in January with his announcement that he was leaving his daytime talk show after 28 years, the 80-year-old hinted that he was heading towards retirement, saying “There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera, especially certain old people.” But soon after, whispers emerged that his departure had more to do with his contract then a desire to retire.

Philbin seemed to confirm those rumors when he called in to Detroit’s The Mojo in the Morning radio show, saying that contractual issues actually pushed him out the door. “I’m not calling it quits, you understand,” he insisted to the morning crew, which included his Live! guest co-host Shannon Murphy. “I’m moving on. I’m not retiring. I’m not quitting. I’m moving on.”

When the radio hosts fawned over him, saying that ABC was making a mistake letting him leave, Philbin responded, “Of course it’s a big mistake, but Regis is moving on.”

Though he doesn’t have anything currently lined up, Philbin expressed an interest in getting back on television – possible ditching daytime for primetime. When the hosts pressed him about his replacement, he complemented all the candidates, from Anderson Cooper to Andy Cohen. But he pointed out that as talented and likable as they may be, his successor will face daily challenges that he can appreciate. “You don’t know how difficult it is to keep a situation going on a show like that that has no writers, that has no meetings,” he said. “You just go out there and you do it. I could do that because I’ve done it for 50 years, that’s the way that I like to do it. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody else.”

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Read more:
Regis announces date of last ‘Live!’ show
Regis Philbin announces exit on ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’
Regis Philbin replacement scoop: Who will fill his seat?

Originally posted October 21 2011 — 2:09 PM EDT

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