Will we have to spend time with our actual grandpas now?

After 28 years as the reigning king of the morning talk show world, Regis Philbin will say his final goodbye at the end of the current season of Live! with Regis and Kelly. Say it ain’t so, Rege (Reej? Reg?)!

Alas, it is so. Regis Philbin will step down at some point toward the end of the summer of 2011. This will not leave co-host, Kelly Ripa, alone on our morning televisions, however. ABC will instead hire a new “Regis” to fill Mr. Philbin’s vacated chair. With the news so fresh — Regis only made the announcement on the Tuesday, Jan. 18 airing of Live! with Regis and Kelly — there is no word on who might take the morning show scepter.

Could it be one of Regis’ past substitutes? Anderson Cooper is busy (bummer), but Mark Consuelos might have some serious morning fun with wife Kelly. Or maybe we could get Jimmy Kimmel to fly across the country every night? That would be awesomely sadistic for any length of time longer than a week.

Regis’ departure came as a surprise to everyone, including co-host Kelly Ripa who reportedly found out about 15 minutes before the show aired. Apparently, Regis had lulled us all into believing that he had a Dick Clark-like ability to last forever. The man’s frequent inability to remember names or understand common general culture topics was only endearing, not a sign of his advancing years (the guy’s going to be 80 this year!). Even Regis’ absences for the occasional hip replacement or bypass surgery failed to tip anyone off that he was getting up there in years.

Regis Philbin’s seeming permanence may also stem from the fact that the man has gone through three younger and perkier co-hosts during his morning show tenure. From 1983 to 1985, Cyndy Garvey co-hosted what was then The Morning Show. She was succeeded by Kathie Lee Gifford, who lasted until 2000. Regis had to go it alone for about a year before Kelly Ripa arrived to be the last one standing on Live!

But it does look like this is it for Regis Philbin on Live! What will the nearly-octogenarian do now? Hopefully, like any good grandpa-type, he’ll enjoy a pleasant and easy retirement. And come back to visit us, now and then.

What do you think about Regis Philbin’s retirement? Can he be replaced? Will you still watch Live! without him? Leave a comment below!

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.