Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin worked together for nearly a decade as hosts of “Live! with Regis and Kelly,” and the daytime television talk show host didn’t mince words while jotting down a few memories of her tumultuous relationship with the legendary broadcaster in her first memoir, “Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories.”
Ripa’s written recollection of their time together on-and-off camera has been met with criticism from fans and foes, including former “Live!” host Kathie Lee Gifford, who admitted she won’t be reading the essays, possibly as a subtle homage to her “great friend.”
In Ripa’s new book, she wrote about having trouble working with Philbin, how she was not allowed to use her own hair and makeup team, and didn’t receive a wardrobe budget. The former “All My Children” star also shared that her name “had to be smaller than Regis’s name on the “Live!” title card and branding.
She noted that receiving the offer to host the popular live show came with a warning, “They want to make sure you know who your boss is.” Ripa went on to explain that after Philbin retired in 2011, they never had a relationship outside the studio and only socialized on rare occasions.
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And Ripa possibly learned a thing or two from her late protégé.
Her former co-host, Michael Strahan, was notably missing from her book despite having been by her side on “Live!” for four years beginning in 2012. He abruptly left the program for a hosting gig on “Good Morning America.”
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Their tumultuous relationship ended in 2016 when Strahan announced his resignation from the show. Ripa found out about Strahan’s choice to leave only minutes before the announcement aired.
He told New York Times Magazine in 2020 that he was never treated as an equal, and thought he was hired to be “a partner,” not “a sidekick.”
“When it was time to go, it was time to go. Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up,” he said.
“One thing I tried to do is have a meeting every few weeks with her. We met a few times, and that was fine. But then eventually she said she didn’t need to meet. Can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to do.”
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Strahan also admitted that his exit from the show “could have been handled better” with a different approach.
“I didn’t wake up and say, ‘I want a job at GMA,'” he said. “I was asked to do it by the people who run the network. It was really not a choice. It was a request. But it was treated as if I was the guy who walked in and said, ‘I’m leaving.’ That part was totally misconstrued, mishandled in every way.”
“People who should have handled it better have all apologized, but a lot of the damage had already been done. For me, it was like: Move on. Success is the best thing. Just keep on moving.”
Despite the hasty timing, which prompted Ripa to take a week off from the show and return with a message to viewers saying the shakeup caused a massive conversation about “respect in the workplace,” Strahan doesn’t have bad feelings toward Ripa.
“If people think, ‘Oh, he hates her’ — I don’t hate her,” he said. “I do respect her for what she can do at her job. I cannot say enough about how good she is at her job.”
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The newest “Live!” co-host, Ryan Seacrest, who joined the show in 2017, also has legions of fans ready to defend his every move.
In June, social media users called Ripa “annoying,” and “boring” and accused her of not letting him finish a sentence.
“You need to tell Kelly to stop interrupting you,” one person wrote in the comment section of an Instagram video Seacrest posted of him driving off the CBS lot in Los Angeles. “That’s very rude. She does it throughout the show… every show. Very annoying. The show’s ratings go up because of you. She is a boring host.”
Another person commented, “I thought I was the only one that felt this way!!! She interrupts, negate and challenge everything you say and tries to act as if you are ‘beneath her’ intellectually Your the star of that show.”
She also had a fair share of support. “Ugh. He’s a bore and a toddler. I watch for Kelly,” one person said followed by a critic who called him “weird” and said they “stopped watching the Live Show, since he started…….he has wealth and zero talent.”
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As Ripa’s memories of working with Philbin began publicly making the rounds, Kathie Lee shared a completely different “reality” of working with the broadcaster for more than one decade.
“I’m a big believer in freedom of expression. I don’t believe we’re supposed to cancel anybody. She has the right to tell her story as she remembers it,” Gifford exclusively told Fox News Digital.
“My experience with Regis was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life,” Gifford said. “I worked with him for 15 years. We never had one unkind word between us.”
“Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” first received national syndication in September 1988, three years after Regis and Kathie Lee had been paired together for the New York-based program, “The Morning Show.”
After years of ratings success, she left the program in July 2000. Regis undertook hosting responsibilities alone for a year while in search of his next co-host. He eventually found his replacement in Ripa.
“I saw him two weeks before he died, and his wife told me that that’s the last time she ever heard him laugh, and I treasure that,” Gifford said. Philbin died of a heart attack in 2020. He was 88.
“So that says all you need to know about what I think about what Kelly is saying now.”