Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford reunited on Wednesday's "Today" for their first co-hosting act in twelve years.
Gifford announced Monday that her former "Live!" co-host would be filling in for Hoda Kotb. Philbin arrived to a hero's welcome at Studio 1A on Wednesday morning. He was greeted by Gifford and a throng of fans at the curb, and was immediately whisked away for a sit-down with Matt Lauer.
Later, Philbin and Gifford opened the fourth hour of "Today" — which had a studio audience for the first time ever — to the tune of their old theme song. "It's Winesday Wednesday, June 20," Gifford told viewers.
"It's always Winesday around here!" Philbin quipped.
Looking back on some old clips, the pair reflected on their on-screen chemistry and routine. Their exchange was just like old times. Philbin recounted his previous night, and the two went through the day's headlines — yes, complete with the newspapers!
Philbin talked about spending time with Joy and playing opposite Betty White on "It's Always Hot In Cleveland" since his departure from "Live!" last year. Later, Gifford thought Philbin slipped and called her "Kelly." He balked at the allegation. "She's always on your mind!" he told Gifford.
It has been twelve years since she left "Live" in July 2000. Earlier in the show, Lauer jokingly asked her if the reunion would be like "riding a bike" again "even though you haven't ridden [Philbin] twelve years." On a more serious note, he wanted to know if they felt like they were "just picking up where [they] left off."
"Of course," Philbin replied. Gifford noted that it has been twelve years "almost to the day" since they were behind the desk together.
"I always thought if I could find someone who could ad lib with me, that's what I wanted to do," Philbin said, explaining that they never prepared for the show. He said that he hated meetings, and that the duo never had one in fifteen years.
"I had in mind where I was the night before," he continued. "I didn't tell her, of course. She didn't tell me before the show and she didn't either. We did it then and there."
Philbin will be hosting NBC's coverage of Macy's July 4th fireworks in New York City. Gifford joked that she got him to appear on "Today" by getting him "drunk over the weekend."