Regis Philbin taking leave of absence for surgery

Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:54am EST
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Regis Philbin will be taking a leave of absence from his long-running ABC daytime talk show to undergo a hip replacement surgery.

Philbin, 78, made the announcement Monday on "Live with Regis and Kelly," which is broadcasting from Las Vegas this week.

"I've been limping around here; it really is painful," Regis said at the end of the show's opening segment. His surgery is scheduled for December 1, after the show's crew returns to New York.

Philbin didn't give a firm date for his return to the show, saying only, "I'll be back next year."

The show later issued a clarification. "Recovery for this procedure typically is estimated to be four to six weeks, and Regis expects to return to 'Live' as soon as possible," a rep for "Regis and Kelly" said.

Neither Philbin nor co-host Kelly Ripa addressed who would be filling in for Philbin while he is away. "Regis and Kelly" has often employed guest co-hosts when one of the stars of the talk show is away.

<p>Regis Philbin poses with his lifetime achievement award backstage at the 35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, California June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>