Coming attraction: tearful goodbyes from Kathie Lee

July 27, 2000|By Kevin Cowherd

News item:

Kathie Lee Gifford's last appearance on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" will be on Friday.

Dear Diary: Well, this is it! My final few days on the show! Then it's on to a new career: singing and acting!

Hope there's nothing wrong with Reege, though.

Today I said to him: "Well, I suppose I could stay. I mean, if you really want me to stay, I'll stay."

He got so pale! Then the poor thing had to lie down.

Gelman reacted the same way.

Hope they're both OK.

They'll always mean the world to me.

Dear Diary: You know what makes me so sad? We never had the pope on the show.

First thing I would have said was: "Your Holiness, you look terrific! Have you lost weight?! Look at you, with that cute white robe and the little thingie on your head!

"Have you met my friend, Marilu Henner? She'll be out in a minute. And 'N Sync is here! But look at you, so tanned and distinguished-looking! C'mon, audience, let's hear it for the Holy Father!"

That's how you put a big guest at ease.

He's supposed to be a darling man, the pope.

Dear Diary: Fifteen years, so many memories!

The coffee and banter at the top of the show, my wonderful stories about Cody and Cassidy, Reege's boring prattle about Notre Dame, my wit, his hyper ramblings about the most mundane things, my steady, guiding hand, the way he'd go on and on about his vacation until you just wanted to scream, my probing interviews of celebrities, his sophomoric clowning during the cooking segment.

Oh, we were a team, weren't we?

Look at me, getting all teary-eyed.

Dear Diary: The media still hammers me about my Wal-Mart clothing line. Produced in sweatshop conditions, exploiting underage workers and blah, blah, blah.

But look what we did for those people.

First we fixed the palm-frond ceilings fans in that factory in . . . well, wherever it was. Somewhere on the Equator.

Then they asked for a cigarette machine, because apparently a lot of 11-year-olds in that country smoke.

So we got them a cigarette machine.

Honestly, I don't know how much more I can do.

I'm only one person.

Dear Diary: Just ran into Reege in the ABC commissary.

"You look so sad," I said. "Is it me leaving? Because if I'm causing you any - any pain at all - then I'll stay. It's not fair to you or the show to have you this miserable."

Reege got pale again and ran to the men's room.

Must be something going around the building.

Dear Diary: The press keeps asking me whether I'm envious of the tremendous exposure Reege has enjoyed with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

Of course not.

It's odd, though, to see a man turn his back on his friends after all that success, to get so uppity, to stop returning phone calls, to make millions and millions of dollars and not share even a scintilla - a tiny portion of the syndication profits, for instance - with those who helped him achieve prominence in the first place.

But I wish him every success.

I really do.

Dear Diary: Called ABC today to see if they're still interested in me doing a Christmas special this year.

There must be something wrong with the phones there - I was on hold for a long, long time.

Finally a nice man who said he produced one of the home improvement shows picked up.

He said everyone was away on vacation, and could I call back in the fall.

"Picture this," I said to him. "Kathie Lee and 200 children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, plus the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Howie Mandel, live at Radio City Music Hall!

"Is that great?! And the show opens with a real old-time Christmasy number, me and the kids being pulled by a mechanical sleigh as fake snow falls from the rafters, all of us singing `Jingle Bells' while sHowie pretends to --."

Then the line went dead.

They really have to do something with those phones.

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