Jimmy Kimmel pays tribute to Regis Philbin ahead of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ premiere

Jimmy Kimmel pays tribute to Regis Philbin ahead of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ premiere

Jimmy Kimmel paid a special tribute to Regis Philbin ahead of Sunday’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” premiere.“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” returns to prime time on Sunday, Oct. 18. The season will be hosted by Kimmel, 52, who also serves as a co-executive producer. Prior to his death in July at age 88, Philbin visited Kimmel on set and the two discussed the late entertainment icon’s legacy on the ABC show.Philbin, also known for his hosting duties on “Live!” with cohosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa, hosted “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” from its debut in 1999 until 2002.Several hosts have taken over the role as host on the game show, however Philbin’s legacy still reigns.REGIS PHILBIN’S CAUSE OF DEATH REVEALED
Regis Philbin passed away in July at the age of 88 from heart disease, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Connecticut confirmed.
(Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images)ABC released a video tribute ahead of Sunday night’s premiere that shows the late host visiting Kimmel on set and talking to him about the role.”I’m hosting this show, but this is his show,” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host said in the video, joking that it’s like Philbin “left me a beautiful car.”During their time together, Kimmel gushed over Philbin and declared, “No one will ever be better at doing this than you. That’s why people love this show. It’s a great game, but Regis is the reason.”Kimmel’s first episode will feature celebrity contestant Tiffany Haddish. Viewers will also see another tribute that will air during the season premiere, longtime “Millionaire” show producer Michael Davies confirmed to the New York Post.KATHIE LEE GIFFORD REMEMBERS ‘PRECIOUS FRIEND’ REGIS PHILBIN AFTER HIS SUDDEN DEATH: A ‘LEGENDARY LIFE’“It was very important to Jimmy and I that we give Regis a proper tribute,” Davies said.The producer revealed Kimmel wrote a “beautiful tribute to Regis” and that there will be a brief highlight of Philbin’s most memorable moments. “That was very difficult to condense but I found some great moments that fans of the show will remember,” he said.REGIS PHILBIN’S DEATH: CELEBRITIES OFFER CONDOLENCES, HEAP PRAISE ON ‘LEGENDARY’ TV HOST“We give him an emotional sendoff on the stage and the studio he owned,” the producer added. “We’re all here because of Regis Philbin and we all know that.”Davies then touched on Kimmel and Philbin’s strong connection.
Jimmy Kimmel will host the upcoming season of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It premieres on Sunday, Oct. 18.
(ABC/John Fleenor)“Regis was a fan of Jimmy’s long before [Jimmy] was famous,” he said. “We booked Jimmy on the celebrity edition of ‘Millionaire’ when he wasn’t really a celebrity. Regis was tickled by him; I remember the night Jimmy first got on Letterman … Regis calling me and laughing out loud on the phone watching Jimmy.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe producer added: “He was proud and felt he was somewhat responsible for bringing Jimmy on television. There was a great affection between the two men; you could see it on every guest appearance Regis made on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’”“It was very important to me to find [a host] who Regis would bless and believe worthy of taking his seat,” Davies said.

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