Philbin returns after 6-week absence


NEW YORK -- Regis Philbin returned to his syndicated daytime talk show Thursday, about six weeks after having triple heart bypass surgery.

The "Live With Regis and Kelly" audience cheered as Philbin walked onto the set with co-host Kelly Ripa.

"What an occasion this has been," Philbin said. "Finally back after six weeks. ... Yes, it was six weeks -- and one day."

Philbin, 75, said he'd lost 8 pounds.

"It is a tough procedure" but the rewards are great, he said of the surgery. "But in the meantime, that whole thing is a tough one."

David Letterman, host of CBS' "Late Show," was the first guest on the show. Philbin has been one of Letterman's favorite foils for many years.

Philbin was a guest host when Letterman underwent heart bypass surgery in 2000 and recovered from an eye infection in 2003.

Last month, Philbin said he was having the operation because "there's some plaque in some arteries and I've got to get it cleaned out."