But his feelings were wounded when he learned from the network grapevine that ABC executives were dissatisfied with his work and his thick accent, so during the opening of one 1968 program, he launched an unplanned diatribe about "not being wanted and letting down" the program and abruptly quit on air.
In 1957, Regis left his job as assistant news editor to Baxter Ward at KCOP, Los Angeles to make his fortune in New York. His first talk show was The Regis Philbin Show on KOGO-TV (now KGTV) in San Diego.
For budgetary reasons he had no writing staff, so he began each show with what has become his hallmark, the "host chat" segment (influenced by Jack Paar), where he engaged his audience (and later his co-host) in discussions about his life and the day's events.
It was long believed that Philbin was an only child, but on the February 1, 2007 broadcast of Live with Regis and Kelly, Philbin announced that he did have a brother, Frank M.
Philbin (March 1, 1951 – January 27, 2007), who had died from non-Hodgkin lymphoma several days earlier.
As revealed in his book, How I Got This Way, this was actually all a ruse planned by Bishop and Regis to steal the spotlight and attract some of Johnny Carson's viewers.
When The Joey Bishop Show was canceled, Bishop returned the favor and walked off the show on the air unannounced, leaving Philbin to successfully carry the night on his own.In 1964, Philbin took over the show that replaced The Steve Allen Show when Steve Allen left the show.The audience did not accept Philbin as a replacement for Allen's zany antics and the appearance lasted only a little over four months because of dismal ratings.ABC brought back Millionaire in 2004 with Philbin, retitled Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire, a related series that was aired on a more limited basis.Philbin had appeared in 11 episodes of a special edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which started on August 9, 2009, 10th anniversary of the show.Philbin gained his first network TV exposure in 1967 as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show on television (1967–1969).