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Regis Philbin to host NBC's new 'America's Got Talent' reality series


By Reality TV World staff, 05/10/2006 

NBC has announced that Regis Philbin, the former host of the ABC Who Wants to Be a Millionaire series that sparked the massive growth of unscripted primetime television programming, will serve as the host of America’s Got Talent, the new Simon Cowell-created reality talent competition that NBC will air this summer.

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"For years I've thought about hosting a variety show on television but I could never put it together in my mind," Philbin, already the holder of the Guinness World Records record for the most hours spent on camera, gushed. "Finally, here it is and I'm thrilled to be a part of it."

First announced earlier this spring, America’s Got Talent will premiere on Wednesday, June 21 at 8PM ET/PT with a special two-hour broadcast. Produced by Cowell's SYCO TV production company and FremantleMedia, the producers of American Idol, the show that's made Cowell a household name, America’s Got Talent will feature performers of any kind competing to win a $1,000,000 cash prize.

"America's Got Talent will possibly be the largest and most comprehensive talent search the country has ever seen. We are looking for performers of all ages in every talent category in hopes of finding that next big name in lights," executive producer Ken Warwick explained in March's announcement of the series. Singers, dancers, comedic performers and unique novelty acts of all ages are expected compete on the show. "This is the show I've always wanted to make," added Cowell. "We are looking for the best entertainer or entertainers in America."

Although one of the show's executive producers, the Idol judge will not be a member of the still unannounced judging panel that will determine which acts advance to the competition's final rounds. As part of his Idol contract, Cowell (who also teamed with FremantleMedia to produce ABC's American Inventor and The X Factor, Britain's most popular television program) is not allowed to appear on any non-Fox American reality series that he produces. Back in Summer 2003, Cowell was allowed to narrate the first two episodes of Cupid, a CBS reality dating series that he created prior to Fox's broadcast of American Idol 2, the Idol edition that first established the smash-hit series as a ratings goliath.

Having served as both a guest and fill-in co-host on Philbin's own Live with Regis & Kelly daytime show, Cowell is very familiar with the television legend. "I am delighted that Regis has agreed to host America's Got Talent," said Cowell. "Regis is just the best, and I am really looking forward to working with him."

America’s Got Talent will mark Philbin's second appearance on a NBC reality program. After witnessing the painful moments that resulted when Donald Trump was forced to speak live during The Apprentice's live first season finale, NBC hired Philbin to "co-host" The Apprentice 2's three hour finale and live reunion broadcast. At Trump's "insistence," The Apprentice dropped the live reunion portion of the broadcast from its third season finale.

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