Regis Philbin: What the 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' and 'LIVE' Host Is up to Now

It's been more than two decades since ABC debuted Who Wants to be a Millionaire, a quiz show that allowed contestants to use lifelines from friends, the audience and even host Regis Philbin to help answer the multiple-choice questions. The show's set to return tonight with Jimmy Kimmel taking on hosting duties. In a statement, Kimmel said that Philbin came to him in a dream and asked him to do the show with the promise of his own necktie collection. The Jimmy Kimmel Live host naturally said yes.

After the show premiered, Philbin soon coined the famous catchphrase, "Is that your final answer?" A seemingly innocuous statement, it spun a new dynamic in the relationship between game show host and their contestants. The show was picked up as a regular series in January of 2000. It ran until June 2002, with Philbin at the center throughout its run. He also returned to the show for a handful of revivals that ran from 2004 through 2009.

While Philbin became synonymous with Who Wants to be a Millionaire, he'd been a fixture on the talk and game show circuits since the early 1960s. During his stint hosting Millionaire, he was the co-host of LIVE with Regis and Kathie Lee from 1988 through 2000. In 2001, the show was revived, with Kelly Ripa replacing Kathie Lee Gifford. LIVE with Regis and Kelly ran until 2011, though show currently lives on with Ripa co-hosting alongside Ryan Seacrest.

Ahead of his retirement from LIVE with Regis and Kelly back in 2011, he told the San Diego Tribune that being on TV was just like "washing my face or having lunch - as normal as can be."

Since his retirement, he's been a regular substitute host for a variety of talk shows, including Today, Piers Morgan Tonight and The Daily Show. He's a recurring guest host with Racheal Ray and has played himself in a number of sitcoms like Game Changers and New Girl. He also had a bit part in the 2015 re-adaptation of The Odd Couple and voiced The Easter Bunny in The Cartoon Network's Uncle Grandpa. His last credited role was as himself, of course, in a 2019 episode of Fresh Off the Boat.


You can see how Kimmel stacks up when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire airs at 10 p.m. ET on ABC after the Modern Family series finale.