Regis Announces Retirement

Broadcast legend Regis Philbin shocked viewers today when he announced that 2011 will be his last year on Live! INSIDE EDITION has the latest.

A stunning announcement from Regis Philbin on live TV, he's retiring!

Regis said, "I don't want to alarm anybody, but I have to tell you because it's going to happen. This will be my last year on this show. There is a time. Everything must come to an end for certain people on camera - for certain old people."

The audience gasped as the 79-year-old legend revealed he'll step down later this year, ending his 28-year run.

His co-host Kelly Ripa listened intently as she heard the news.

Ripa says, "I think I can only speak for all of America and all of us here, it has been a pleasure and a privilege and a dream come true, and I wish I could do something to make you change your mind."

The TV airwaves buzzed with reaction to the end of an era.

On The View, Barbara Walters said, "So [there was] a big announcement this morning, to us a shocking announcement."

Kathie Lee Gifford, who was Regis's co-host for 15 years, revealed that he tipped her off last year and says, "We had dinner last year. He said 'I think that at the end of this contract.' You start to ask yourself how much time is God going to give me?"

INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd sat down with Angie Dickinson, who was a guest on Regis's show today promoting the new PBS special, Pioneers of Television.

Dickinson explains, "While I was in my dressing room waiting listening to the show this was what? Because he is an institution at that time of day for so many years."

INSIDE EDITION has learned that even most Live! with Regis and Kelly staff members were shocked backstage as Regis made his surprise announcement.  

Donald Trump, Regis's old friend and frequent guest says, "Well he is a special guy and he understands exactly what he is doing. He's very very smart, he probably said well hey let me stop while I am on top."

Regis is retiring just as two other TV legends are ending their shows, Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.

Now the big question is who will replace Regis, whose wit and high energy have made him a star of morning television for a generation. Kelly's husband, Mark Consuelos, and Survivor host Jeff Probst have been regular fill-ins.

J. Max Robins of the Paley Center for Media spoke about replacing Regis. He said, "This is going to be a really tough task to keep that francise going and to find someone to fill Regis's shoes."