REGIS AUDITIONS TO 'REPLACE' KELLY!

Published on: April 11, 2006
REGIS AUDITIONS TO 'REPLACE' KELLY!

By JIM NELSON

A new feud has erupted between Live co-hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. Sources say she's furious after learning of Reege's comedy skit during his cabaret shows in which he gives women in the audience a chance to "audition" to replace her on the show. Regis first offered the mock tryouts — "just in case Kelly ever leaves" — at shows in Florida, and they were such a success he used the gag in Atlantic City.

"I picked six (women) to come up on stage... and some were pretty good," Regis admitted. "So I decided to keep it."

But when Ripa heard about the act, she hit the roof — and she's privately told pals she thinks Reege should cut the routine.

Said a source: "Kelly's still stinging from the trying moments she went through with Reege after she took over from Kathie Lee Gifford five years ago.

"She's never liked the speculation about how she's doing compared to Kathie Lee, or the rumors about being replaced by Kathie Lee or someone else. Regis' act just opens old wounds."

When contacted, a Live show spokesperson said: "It's ridiculous. The 'audition' is a fun bit of audience participation that Regis has been doing for 20 years. Kelly has seen his show numerous times and loves it."

But Regis, 74, and Kelly, 35, hit some bumpy spots early on in their partnership. He didn't like the revealing clothing Kelly wore on the show and didn't feel she treated him with respect.

Kelly felt Regis was old-fashioned and said she considered herself a breath of fresh air who put a spike in the show's ratings.

Although they've mainly sorted out their differences, it seems Regis can't help having fun with the media speculation over the show. "He likes to needle Kelly and keep her on edge," said the source.