NEW YORK – Regis Philbin is close to signing a new deal with ABC — most likely for less than the reported $20 million deal he inked two years ago.
Philbin, who co-hosts Live with Regis & Kelly, has been in discussions with ABC for several weeks now — and has even alluded to his negotiations during the "host chat" segment of Live.
"I'm re-negotiating, too, and no one seems to care!" Philbin joked on July 2 — the same day The Post ran a story about Kelly Ripa's contract negotiations with ABC's All My Children.
Philbin inked a reported $20 million two-pronged deal in February 2000 to continue hosting Live and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire "for many years to come."
At the time, Millionaire was one of TV's top-rated shows and was a cultural phenomenon — averaging 30 million viewers a night and turning Philbin's "Is that your final answer?" into a national catchphrase.
Since then, though, Millionaire lost most of its viewership and was canceled by ABC. It will return from time to time, probably during sweeps, with Philbin once again hosting the show.
That means it's highly unlikely that Philbin will be making the same kind of money, since his duties on Millionaire have been severely curtailed.
A syndicated Millionaire will launch in September with The View co-host Meredith Vieira.
Officials at Buena Vista have a standing policy of not commenting on contracts. Philbin's agent did not return a call seeking comment.