Regis can't wait to visit Charlottetown for four shows
When "Live! With Regis & Kelly" travels to Prince Edward Island next week, local shellfish delicacies will be on the menu. That's going to be tough to swallow for Regis Philbin.
He's no mussels man, as he's the first to admit and as he demonstrated a few weeks ago on "Late Show with David Letterman." As for crabs, well, he's the only crab he can stand.
Sneaky Dave had a top New York chef bring out a tray of raw oysters and mussels and forced them on his old pal, skipping the sauce. "He's an animal!" says Philbin.
Did he develop a taste for the seafood? He did not.
"They were salty, they were squirmy -- I feel one is still living inside my stomach and it's been a couple of weeks now."
Philbin and co-host Kelly Ripa will be confronted with a whole new sampling of seafood when they anchor four shows from Charlottetown's scenic Confederation Landing Park. The shows run July 12-15 at 9 a.m. ET on CTV.
It's the latest trip to Canada for the long-running daytime talk show, which has previously travelled twice to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Philbin and his wife Joy -- who often joins him on the series -- will arrive first in Canada and perform with an orchestra Friday night in Moncton's Casino New Brunswick. Philbin has played Ontario casinos in Niagara and Rama, but Moncton?
"Just the name is scaring me," Philbin says on the phone from New York. "Is there a monk in Moncton?"
The TV show, which is based in Manhattan, hits the road two or three times a year, often travelling to Orlando and in recent years, New Orleans.
Executive producer Michael Gelman says they'd had a great time travelling to Canada in the past and were well aware they'd have "a great Canadian fan base."
"Our studio audience is filled with a lot of Canadians and we were looking for a chance to go back there," he says.
The P.E.I. government's travel office contacted the series and -- in partnership with the federal government -- an invitation to come north was extended. The governments hope the show will boost tourism in P.E.I.
"It was perfect timing," says Gelman. "We love to show off and experience where ever we travel to and that really motivates people to go to those places."
Even Philbin says he looks forward to these trips, despite the fact that his usual routine is to roll out of bed, cross the street from his mid-town Manhattan condo, and arrive at the studio weekday mornings at 8:25 to do the 9 a.m. show.
"It gets to be repetitive," says Philbin. "So you look forward to a little breath of fresh air up there in Canada and after hearing everybody rave about the place I can't wait to see it."
He expects co-host Kelly Ripa to rip it up with the locals.
"She's feisty, no challenge is too big for her and I say God bless her," he says.
The guest list includes Canadians Elisha Cuthbert and Caroline Rhea as well as John Corbett ("The United States of Tara"), Stephen Moyer ("True Blood") and Peter Facinelli ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"). Gelman, who scouted the region earlier this year, says taped bits will feature local P.E.I. attractions.
The main stage area will be outdoors, and Gelman has his fingers crossed on the weather.
"We've done it many times and have a great team but things can go wrong," he says. "The terrible thing is, just when you get it perfect, by the end of your fourth show you have to tear it all down and go home."
Gelman's wife Laurie Hibberd ("The Mom Show") is from Toronto and the couple expect a Canadian relative or two to make the trip to P.E.I.
"Uncle Bill is coming by with a couple of friends," says Gelman. "We usually only see him in Florida."
And, yes, over Philbin's protests, there will be a seafood segment. Gelman plans to have some of the top chefs in Charlottetown come on the show and cook up various shellfish dishes.
"The idea," says the producer, "is to try and make them palatable to Regis."
That won't be easy as the 78-year-old is a picky eater at the best of times, according to Gelman.
"Regis doesn't even like what he calls 'high food' -- you know, when the chef stacks the food up on the plate," he says.
"He could have his favourite steak and potatoes and if it comes out in a tower shape he'll be like, 'Oh, Gelman, I can't eat that!' I'm like, 'Regis, just knock it over."'
If Philbin rejects it all, no problem, says Gelman.
"Kelly and I are going to have a great time eating leftovers."