REGIS PHILBIN stunning admission –“contractual issues” forced him to leave his  longtime gabfest gig.

 The talk show vet, 80, announced in January that he’d be ankling the daytime talker on LIVE! with Regis and Kelly but didn’t say why. His last day will be November 18.

“The contractual issue just never worked out, but I was going to leave before that anyway,” Regis told The Mojo in the Morning radio show reported.

“That's a loss on their part because I've got to admit, it looks to me like they're kind of forcing you out and I think it's a mistake,” the Mojo host Spike said. “The audience still loves you. Your obviously still ready to work so I don't know why they wouldn't want you.

“Of course it's a big mistake, but Regis is moving on,” Regis said.

 “I don't want anything lined up yet. I want to have a few moments of peace alone before I get involved with somebody else,” Regis said.

As for who will replace him on the show with Kelly Ripa, Regis says they haven’t chosen anyone yet. His personal front-runners are Kelly’s hubby, Mark Consuelos and Bravo host Andy Cohen.

“I really don't know and I know they don't know.

“It's going to be a process of three or four months of her trying out different people, seeing who clicks with her,” Regis admitted.