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Regis Philbin is a well-known TV personality who co-hosted his own daytime talk show for almost three decades, also working in prime time and writing several books.
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Philbin wrote his memoirs I'm Only One Man in 1995, and has co-authored Entertaining with Regis and Kathie Lee and Cooking with Regis and Kathie Lee. Philbin and Gifford also co-hosted The Miss America Pageant and collaborated on musical concert acts to sold-out crowds; Philbin also has a solo nightclub act. In 1999, Philbin created new material for his memoirs, when he co-hosted the highest-rated prime-time game show in history,
the U.K. import Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Though initially slated for a two-week release in late summer, the success of the show insured its return.
After dominating the ratings race during the network "sweeps" period, it earned a regular place in the schedule, made the Philbin phrase "Is that your final answer?" a staple in pop-culture circles, and inspired competing networks to jump on the prime-time game show bandwagon. In February 2000, Philbin inked a deal with ABC's corporate owner, Disney, bringing his annual salary for Who Wants to be a Millionaire to an unprecedented $20 million—the highest pay ever for a game-show host. The next year, he was awarded a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host.
Millionaire was eventually moved into daytime syndication in 2002, and Philbin left the show to focus on other projects. In 2004, Philbin returned to ABC to host Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire, a prime-time show that aired less frequently. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show, Philbin also hosted a handful episodes of a special edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2009.
In addition to the enormous success of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Philbin's popularity as a talk-show host reached a new high after the departure of co-host Gifford in 2000. After a much-publicized search for a new co-host, Philbin introduced his new foil, soap opera star Kelly Ripa, in February 2001. The show was then renamed Live with Regis and Kelly. That same year, Philbin won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2001 for outstanding talk show host.
In 2004, Philbin broke the Guinness World's Record for Most Hours on Camera, with a total of 15,188 hours. He then celebrated his show's 20th anniversary in national syndication on September 14, 2007, with a special appearance by Kathie Lee Gifford. In 2008, he received another Daytime Emmy, this time for Lifetime Achievement. The next year, he announced that he would be taking time off from his hosting duties to undergo hip replacement surgery.
After a coronary heart disease scare triggered by high cholesterol, Philbin has taken on a role as spokesperson for The American Heart Association. In 1993, after undergoing angioplasty, Philbin made an exercise video, Regis: My Personal Workout. He is also a vocal supporter of his alma mater, Notre Dame, and received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university in 1999 for his contributions to Notre Dame and South Bend, Indiana, where the school is located.
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