'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' pays tribute to Regis Philbin ahead of show's new season

Jimmy Kimmel honors his predecessor in a new video capturing the moment Philbin visited the set of the rebooted game show.
/ Source: TODAY

As he prepares to launch the new season of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," Jimmy Kimmel is honoring the late Regis Philbin with a sweet tribute.

Philbin, who died at the age of 88 in July, hosted the hit ABC game show on and off for a decade after it premiered in 1999. Before Kimmel took over in 2020, Meredith Vieira, Cedric the Entertainer, Terry Crews and Chris Harrison all took turns hosting the show.

In a touching video posted to the game show's YouTube page, Kimmel honors the TV icon and recalls stepping onto the "Millionaire" set for the first time earlier this year.

"Probably the most significant thing that happened when I hosted the first season is Regis came to the set the first day," Kimmel says.

The video then transitions to a clip of the two touring the show's set together.

"The king has returned, the return of the king," Kimmel says to his predecessor. "Gosh, you look fantastic."

“So do you," Philbin says, smiling.

During their visit, Kimmel, 52, walked around with Philbin and thanked him for creating such a hit series.

"You built this house," he says. The ever-humble Philbin replies and says, "I loved doing the show."

The late-night host got serious with Philbin for a moment and told him he could never fill his shoes, no matter how hard he tried.

"Regis, no one will ever be better at doing this than you, no one, never. And I’m not just being false humble by saying that; it's true, you’re the best," he says. "And that’s why people love this show. I mean it's a great game, but Regis is the reason."

As he fondly reflected on the brief time he spent with Philbin, Kimmel gave the TV legend plenty of credit for his successful career.

"It was great to see him and it was exciting to just have him there because I’m hosting the show, but this is his show," he said.

The new season of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" premieres on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 p.m.