NEW YORK – Regis Philbin went on Larry King's show this week to throw cold water on reports that he's getting ready to retire -- and that there's a problem with Live co-host Kelly Ripa.
"Oh, sure," he said when King asked him if he thinks of hanging it up. "Where would you go in the afternoon?
"So, when I think about [retiring] and I never got into golf . . . what would I do, Larry?"
That doesn't mean never.
"Might you some day hang it up?" King asked.
"Well, I think so, Larry, yeah," Philbin replied. "What do you want me at 90 coming out, 'Hello, everybody, Regis here.' "
Philbin also poo-poohed reports that his backstage relationship with Ripa, who joined Live in February 2001 as Kathie Lee Gifford's replacement, is cooling.
"Well, this is all news to me," he said. "I think Kelly is terrific. I get along with her fine.
"But you know, the gossip thing is so big these days. And it happens, I guess, to every show business duo, Martin and Lewis, to go back a long time."
Philbin then added he saw no reason to fire back at the gossipmongers. Which may not be welcome news to Ripa.
"I mean, I accept this whole thing. I know what this business is built on," he said.
"It's built on stories like this. But I'm not going to get involved in that. There's no reason to."
King also asked Philbin, point-blank, if Ripa gets on his nerves.
"No, she doesn't. I understand," Philbin said.
"You know, in the beginning of the show, she was nervous, of course, starting a whole new thing. She knew she was going to be observed and written about and compared and all that.
"And I guess she was as nervous as could be," Philbin said. "And if maybe she took a little too long telling a story, or didn't get to the punchline soon enough . . . but she's overcome that. I think now we're on a smooth track."
Ripa, who had a baby shortly after joining Live , is expecting her third child in February.