So, today, this happened.
Sigh. Look, I know Regis Philbin isn't everyone's favorite. He's loud. He's grumpy. He's been on TV almost as long as I've been alive. He's not even the first TV legend to announce his retirement in the past year or so. Larry King, Mary Hart, and, of course, Oprah, have either hung it up as talk hosts or are on the way out.
But there's something special about the Reege. Whether or not you loved him, you had to admit -- Regis is TV. That doesn't mean he's the medium's biggest star. But he's arguably its most enthusiastic. He's willing to do nearly anything for his audience. Don't believe me? Take a gander at this.
"Let go of my horn!"
Of course, Regis dressing up as Shrek rather misses the point. The man doesn't need to dress as an over-the-top character. He is an over-the-top character.
His face is more expressive than that of most actors, conveying with a mere exhalation or furrowed brow a wide range of emotion -- sadness, amusement, frustration (mostly frustration). And that voice! What will morning talk be without his booming voice putting an exclamation point at the end of nearly every sentence ("Regis is hungry!" "Regis is very important!" "Gelman, leave Regis alone!")?
I'm sure that Regis's departure from "Live" doesn't mean he's leaving the airwaves for good. Frankly, I don't think he could stay away. He'll be around -- in guest appearances, live concerts, and many other forms. But his leaving "Live" is the end of era. I'm sure the show will find someone decent to replace him (my choice would be Neil Patrick Harris, though that seems unlikely). But there's only one Regis. And he'll be missed.