The Bottom Line
- Kelly Ripa
- Too fluffy
- Airs Monday through Friday in syndication, usually at 9 a.m., but check local listings.
- Taped in New York City.
- The hosts often rib show producer Michael Gelman, who has become a regular on the program as such.
- Known for its celebrity guest co-hosts, including Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane and Dolly Parton.
Guide Review - Overview: Live! With Regis & Kelly
Like many people, I wasn't a big fan of this program when it was Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. I thought co-host Kathie Lee Gifford tried just a little too hard and was just a little too sickly sweet for my taste. Unless there was a guest I was particularly fond of stopping by, I steered clear.
But since Kelly Ripa's arrival, all that's changed. Ripa, a well-known soap opera actress, and the former star of ABC's hit sitcom Hope and Faith, introduced a kind of no nonsense realism to show -- something it was sorely lacking.
Regis is a talk show host's talk show host, with style and charisma. The success of Live! has led to Philbin's star turn on the initial run of Who Wants to be a Millionaire!, the successful game show, and a slew of other projects. He's also well known for his friendship with fellow New York talk show host David Letterman. He's a frequent guest on Letterman's show, and was a featured guest on Letterman's first show after September 11.
The "in the breakfast nook with our coffee" set and style format has inspired countless other programs, though its origins date back to many locally broadcast talk show formats. The show, taped in New York City, is done so in front of a live studio audience.
Live began its run, in fact, as a locally produced morning program with Regis and co-host Cyndy Garvey. Its trouncing of The Phil Donahue Show, a once high-rated afternoon talk show, prompted Live's promotion to national syndication. It began its national run in 1988.
Today the show still clicks, even after a spate of illness that has seen Philbin take more time off than usual. But every challenge is an opportunity, and Ripa has found countless worthy and willing co-hosts when Philbin is out, including Neil Patrick Harris, Jerry Seinfeld, her husband Mark Consuelos (a frequent contributor to Oprah as well) and many others.
Even Letterman pitched in when Philbin had heart surgery in 2009.