Regis Philbin has the mannerisms and voice that launched a thousand parodies, but his ubiquity underscores his accomplishments. Think about this -- in a society where television has played such a major part of our lives for the past half-century, Regis Philbin holds the Guinness-certified world record for the most hours logged in front of a television camera.
Considering his daily hour on "Live with Regis and Kelly," it's not a record that anyone is likely to break soon, and now that he's also hosting CBS' prime time "Million Dollar Password," he's still one of the hardest working men in the field.
Bankrate spoke to Regis about "Password," the secret to TV success, and how he has remained a man of fairly simple desires even with such great success.
Bankrate: What attracted you to "Million Dollar Password"?
Regis Philbin: It's a great way to return to prime time TV, which is still the largest arena in our business. I had a good time doing "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" years ago, and so here comes "... Password," which is probably the most popular of all the game shows through the years. This is the fifth time they're bringing it back, and the chance to do it in prime time, on Sunday nights, on CBS, following "60 Minutes" -- how could I turn it down, Larry? I had to do it.
Bankrate: What is it about hosting game shows in general that you enjoy?
Regis Philbin: I think they're a great form of entertainment, and I love giving the check for $1 million to a winner. That becomes a big thrill for me as well as for them. But I do enjoy working on a good game, and I think "... Password" is about as attractive as it gets. You get so involved in the game that even though I'm just the host, trying to keep things together and in progress on the show, I have a tendency to get involved, almost blurting out the word sometimes. So it's just a great show, and I'm happy to be back.
Bankrate: How does this version differ from the older ones?
Regis Philbin: The money is much higher, of course. These days to start a new game show you need a million-dollar payoff or nobody cares. And here, we have the people up -- not sitting down behind the little desk that they used years ago, but up and facing each other. So the camera is focused on one face, then the other, and it goes back and forth. It's quite tense and a lot of fun, especially in the end when they connect and get the word out there that they won.