Regis Philbin has welcomed virtually every celebrity to his weekday talk show … but as with most hosts, there’s one elusive “get” for him.
Time is getting ever shorter, since the television icon will leave the syndicated “Live! With Regis and Kelly” Friday, Nov. 18. As his run winds down, he’s greeting a parade of big names — in recent days, George Clooney and Hugh Jackman have visited to promote their movies opening this weekend (respectively, “The Ides of March” and “Real Steel”) — but there’s a first-time guest Philbin still hopes for.
“I’m glad that whoever I’ve had on the show, I had at the time,” he tells Zap2it in his memorabilia-crammed office at New York’s WABC-TV, which “Regis and Kelly” calls home base. “I was lucky to have had them while they were all still around, but there’s one person who I think is a major, major star and is big enough to take anybody’s place.
“That’s Barbra Streisand. I was at a party in Malibu last month, and Piers Morgan was sitting next to me, and Streisand was sitting next to him. And he was on his knees begging [for her to appear on his weeknight CNN program], but she just doesn’t do things like that. Maybe she’d do something like when Oprah was leaving, but I don’t want to bother her. Why should she come on? I don’t know her.”
Well, there’s the fact that Philbin is a home-screen institution who recently broke his own Guinness Book record as the personality who’s logged the most hours on television. And the fact that if Streisand is so inclined, she has only six weeks left to act on it. Last winter, she inferred she might do “Live!” if Philbin came to Los Angeles for it, since she didn’t want to go to then-freezing Manhattan.
But it’s fall now.
“Other than her, there’s nobody else,” Philbin says of just how short his remaining wish list is. “Unless you can think of somebody. Maybe a forest ranger in the Adirondacks.”