THREE years after being ousted from his plum gig on morning TV, 83-year-old Regis Philbin has become depressed, sources say.
Several comeback projects failed to catch on, and the former talk show host has lost his get-up-and-go, a close friend tells The National ENQUIRER.
“He’s always been a fighter, but you see a lot of that spirit draining away,” said the source. “‘Reege’ thought he was going to write a great second act, but the phone doesn’t ring.”
Regis was unceremoniously dumped from his seat on the long-running syndicated show in 2011 after balking at a pay cut. “It was a blatant move to make the show younger,” an insider says. Philbin’s ego took another hit when the show’s ratings soared after NFL Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan, replaced him. “That’s why he was so focused on making a comeback,” the friend says. “He’s tried everything, from launching his own syndicated talk show to starring in his own reality series, but he can’t find any takers.” “Reege” finally landed a hosting gig in 2013, when he helmed “The Crowd Goes Wild” on Fox Sports 1. But the show was cancelled in May due to dismal ratings. Since then, “Regis has been fighting for scraps,” the source says. Regis’ hosting gig on Fox Sports 1 was canceled earlier this year due to dismal ratings. He’s also made appearances on “The Rachael Ray Show.”
Despite pleas from Joy, his wife of 44 years, to enjoy his retirement, “Reege” feels rejected and useless, sources say.
“Joy had hoped they would really stop and smell the roses,” an insider says. “But Regis can’t sit around and do nothing. He goes stir-crazy. He’s like a shark that has to keep swimming to live. He can’t stand the thought that it might be over for him on TV.” Health issues have also plagued the aging icon, who’s endured triple bypass heart surgery and hip replacement, along with surgeries for skin cancer and a blood clot over the past seven years.
The source added: “Doctors urge him to get exercise daily, but some days, Joy can’t get him to do anything,” a friend says. “Regis can’t stand the thought that it might be over for him on TV. He’s a proud man and has trouble accepting that.”