June 20, 2012 at 9:20 AM ET
It was Philbin phever Wednesday morning on the plaza for the kickoff to Regis and Kathie Lee Gifford's first co-hosting gig in 12 years.
Regis made a grand entrance, pulling his car up to meet a waiting KLG, who stood patiently on the street holding a coffee and a microphone. In an arrival modeled after the Dalai Lama's in 2010, Regis tumbled out of his SUV, late for the interview with Matt Lauer, like a temperamental starlet.
"Reege! Look at these lovely people who came out for you," said KLG of the cheering crowd. "It's not exactly Bieber fever, but it's nice."
"Hey, little girl, it's me! Regis is back!" he shouted to a confused young onlooker, before pausing at the reception desk to talk about his days as an NBC page.
"Don't worry about me," said Matt, lounging on a bed and checking his watch as the two finally made their way into Studio 1A. "You show up when you want to show up."
"All I said was yes, I'll come and pitch for Koda!" Regis replied. "And I wind up with this fanfare like it's the St. Patrick's Day parade!"
Matt asked Regis if he thought co-hosting with Kathie Lee would be like getting back on a bike and picking up where they left off.
"Of course, even though it's been 12 long years," said Regis, who left his co-hosting gig at "Live! With Kelly" in November. Gifford left the "Live!" desk in 2000. "I always thought if I could find someone who could ad-lib with me, that would be perfect. She's good person, she prays for me. Who prays for me?"
"I'm praying for you right now," said Matt, then asked if Regis ever missed co-hosting.
"Certain days, certain nights," he admitted, then asked, "When are we back on?"
"The fourth hour," Matt replied patiently. "They'll be back the fourth hour, as he fills in for Koda."
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Julieanne Smolinski is a CODAY.com tontributor. Sorry, TODAY.com contributor.
What a show! KLG's mom fills in, Kathie Lee gets a playlist, Regis is a guest