Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Regis-versary


Regis Philbin will begin the 20th year of his nationally syndicated morning TV show next week (even though they're promoting it as the "20th anniversary," it went on the air 9/5/88). To celebrate, the show producers have posted video of the "host chat" segment from that first morning with Regis and Kathie Lee.

By this point, Regis had been doing the local New York version of this show for five years, including three and a half with Kathie Lee, and Regis had been successful essentially the same show elsewhere (e.g. "AM Los Angeles").

Few television personalities have been able to make as personal a connection with viewers as Regis. "Host chat" has always been the core of his success. His ability to spend 15 minutes every morning talking spontaneously, without any writers, about what he did the night before, the frustrations of his daily life, etc., made him unique in the TV business.

With "host chat," and Regis' natural broadcasting skills in place, taking the show national was more a matter of technical matters and marketing than putting on a whole new product from scratch.

As you'll see, the Regis act hasn't changed much through the years, although somewhere along the way, he adapted several aspects of Dana Carvey's impression of him (e.g. shouting for emphasis, referring to himself in the third person). The video segment also includes an idiotic visit from an astrologer -- Regis always fell for that crap -- who, to my knowledge, never gained any fame anywhere besides his appearances on this show.