Kathie Lee Gifford reveals what Regis Philbin said about her ‘Today’ exit

Long before she became day-drinking buddies with Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford enjoyed a long working relationship with Regis Philbin over at ABC.

During Wednesday’s show, Kotb asked her co-host whether she’d heard from him after announcing on Tuesday she would be leaving “Today” in April.

“I did!” Gifford confirmed during the show’s fourth hour. 

She revealed that Philbin told her, “Kath, I’m so happy for you …  There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the 15 years we spent together and how much I loved you.”

Gifford, 65, added, “He said, ‘It was never the same after you left’ because it isn’t.’ “

She promised Kotb, “You and I may not be working together… anymore but we’ll be in each other’s lives for the rest of our lives.”

Gifford added that she hopes Philbin, now 87, drops by “Today” during her farewell week, noting, “He loved coming on with us,” and pointing out the obvious: “Everybody loves Regis.”

Who should replace Gifford? We have ideas and so does social media

On Tuesday, Gifford, 65, revealed her planned departure from the NBC morning show. Her last day on the show will be April 7, and her replacement has not yet been determined, NBC president Noah Oppenheim told the show’s staff in a memo obtained by USA TODAY. 

“I’ve been here almost 11 years; thought I would stay one year, something happened along the way. I fell in love…” she said, pointing to Kotb. “And now, when it’s our eleventh anniversary, I am going to be leaving the ‘Today’ show.” 

NBC President Noah Oppenheim told staff via email: “When we first launched this incredible hour, no one could have predicted the lightning (or rather, wine) in a bottle that is Hoda & Kathie Lee,” he wrote. “Whether in studio or on one of their many road trips, they have delighted our audience with their distinct brand of fun, friendship and adventure. During that time, Kathie Lee has cemented her status as one of the most enduring and endearing talents in morning television. In short – she is a legend.”

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