November 20, 2011 1:29pm PT by Jane Kellogg
Regis Philbin’s Final ‘Live!’ Episode Set to Net Record Ratings
After more than two decades hosting Live! – first with Kathie Lee Gifford since 1988 and with Kelly Ripa since 2001 – Regis Philbin can expect big ratings for his sendoff when national numbers come in Tuesday.
Based on preliminary household ratings from New York City and Philadelphia, nearly one-third of TV viewers were tuned in Friday.
Friday’s show, which had a celebrity-packed studio audience including Donald Trump, Gifford, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Alan Alda, scored an 8.7 for its last quarter in New York, nearly triple what the show averaged last November (2.9), according to Nielsen Media Research.
Philbin’s swan song performed even better in Philadelphia, with 9.7, compared to last year’s 3.5 for the same month.
This past February, THR reported Live! With Regis and Kelly hit a two-year ratings high when Philbin not only announced his impending departure from the show, but also interviewed pop sensation Justin Bieber. The episode average a 3.1 household rating for the week, its highest number since December 2008, according to Nielsen.