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When Regis Philbin bowed out of his daytime talk show last year after 28 seasons, the consummate host claimed he wasn’t retiring … and he meant it.

The 81-year-old former ‘Live! personality recently filmed a guest appearance for the upcoming season premiere of the Betty White sitcom ‘Hot in Cleveland’ but has otherwise been acting very much like a guy who no longer works.

That has all suddenly changed. He explained, “When the call came from Rachael Ray to come in once a month as a recurring co-host, he figured why not. “I’m not gonna say I don’t want to do your show! I spent my whole life doing this.”

Philbin acknowledges that he is not a cook but he is happy about one thing: “I love the idea. It’s fun to be back on TV when you don’t have to do it every day.”

The woman who came up with the catchphrase EVOO, now recognized in dictionaries across the land, is looking forward to having a now and then partner. Rachael confirmed, “It’ll be a blast having him on the team.”

Reege will make his debut appearance on Monday, Sept. 24.

Photo: Rachael Ray Promo Pic