Regis Philbin Is Back!

Regis getty square

REGIS PHILBIN'S much-hyped return to daytime television is already a hit with his long-suffering wife!

“Regis was hell on Joy, being around the house all day,” a pal revealed to The National ENQUIRER. “She would try to get Regis to travel with her, but he wanted to stay home – and that just drove her stir crazy!”

The 83-year-old star, who left “Live! With Regis & Kelly” in 2011 after a salary squabble, is nearing a deal to join his former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford in the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today.”

He’ll appear as a recurring correspondent – which is big news for his wife of 45 years, who told pals that Regis adjusted to retirement “like an Eskimo would adjust to the desert!”

“Regis never really saw himself as retired,” the friend added. “All he could do was complain he was bored. He was driving Joy nuts. He’d be on the phone constantly trying to drum up new TV deals, and then get depressed when they didn’t pan out.”

Regis most recently tried a return to television in 2013 with a Fox Sports program called “Crowd Goes Wild” – but the show was axed after just eight months on the air.

“Regis wondered if he would ever get another chance. Even at his age, he’s like a shark that has to keep swimming!” the source said.

Fortunately, Regis had done some guest spots on “Today” with his old partner, and “Kathie Lee suggested to producers that they add ‘Reege’ as a regular,” said the insider.

“He and Kathie Lee are like an old married couple, and her co-host Hoda [Kotb] gets a kick out of Regis!”