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Regis Philbin Praises Dean Martin, Trashes Reality TV

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With just days to go before leaving his iconic talk show, Regis Philbin reflected on the changing nature of show biz in a series of interviews -- and his assessment wasn't too great.

Philbin, who leaves "Live!" on Friday, has seen a lot during his career, including the introduction of what he calls "the Tweeter" and when women started joining news desks.

But he believes that many of today's stars can't hold a candle to the greats of his generation. In an interview with TVGuide, he praised Dean Martin and Perry Como as "the irreplaceables, the indestructibles." "I was lucky to come up through the years knowing the stars who made real impact," he said.

He suggested that "it's much simpler to become a star today," noting that many celebrities have come up through reality television. Philbin has had his share of interesting encounters with some of them. He also added that he meant no disrespect to those people, and that the business has merely changed.

It is a familiar tune for Philbin, who has lamented TV's decline before and often professes his love for Dean Martin. In fact, the beloved host mused about the man in another interview with Jerry Seinfeld for Newsweek.

The two praised the late Martin for his ability to entertain, and again reflected on the changing times. Seinfeld praised Philbin for drawing a line for what he doesn't talk about on TV. Philbin returned the compliment, pointing out that Seinfeld is one of the few people left in the business "who don't use the F word to get a laugh."

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