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Did Regis Philbin quit over a pay cut?

61.

61. "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KATHIE LEE/KELLY"
With the glorious talents of Regis Philbin, it created the morning TV kaffeeklatch, later exemplified by "The View." Photo Credit: ABC

Here's a theory I never even bothered to entertain -- because if you are Regis Philbin and probably worth well over $100 million, and have far more money than you know what to do with, and are pushing 80 . . . why would quit over the almighty dollar?

But TMZ is reporting this morning that Reeg did in fact quit after ABC demanded he take a haircut from his $18-20 million salary. True? I will say this: TMZ usually gets these sorts of matters right. Plus, consider that Regis fired his long-term agent, the powerful Jim Griffin, the very day he quit on the air. Why would he do that? Clearly he was not happy with Griffin, who had been with him for years. What could have possibly set Regis off, I wondered at the time.

WABC and Buena Vista -- I firmly believe -- wanted to keep him on, but like all broadcasters, they're looking to shave costs, and Regis is a big cost. Plus, he takes off Fridays, and probably wanted more days off in the coming contract. Griffin probably had trouble fighting the station's logic on this one, if true .

Nevertheless, I've known Regis many years and know him to be an honorable person, and deeply loyal -- to the people he works with and the companies he's been aligned with. He's not one of these temperamental stars who throw a fit when things don't go right, or money doesn't line up. (I REFUSE to name names here -- but some people with the initials "K" and "O" might qualify as this sort of person, but I certainly don't mean to suggest Keith Olbermann. Never never NEVER!!) He's one of the good guys. But he's still put the show with his name on it in a very very difficult spot. While TMZ may be right in the broad strokes, I would also imagine something else is going on, too.

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