Regis may be out, but a local morning radio host is in--for a day at least.
It was announced Monday on "Live! With Regis and Kelly" that Chicago's Eric Ferguson was one of five winners selected to fill in as co-host for Regis Philbin for one day during the week of Jan. 24-28.
The announcement came just ahead of Philbin publicly declaring his impending retirement, saying this morning on the show that after almost 25 years, "this will be my last year."
Ferguson, an Elburn native who has co-hosted the "Eric and Kathy" morning show on 101.9 WTMX-FM for nearly 15 years, made it through several rounds of voting in "Regis & Kelly's: Men of Radio Co-Host for a Day Search" to become one of five winners.
With both the contest and retirement announcements so close together, the "Eric and Kathy" twitter feed aptly captured the atmosphere of excitement, with a Tuesday morning tweet reading, "Regis Philbin is retiring, Eric is filling-in in next week. Let the rumors begin!!"
After being nominated by loyal listeners, Ferguson stated in an interview with WGN's Mark Suppelsa that his strategy would be first, to "get a suit" and second, to "follow Kelly's lead."
FInalists in the contest submitted a video to plead their case, and as the only winner from Chicago and even the Midwest, Ferguson's had a proud Windy City backdrop. In the opening shot, he lodged himself in the Wrigley Field scoreboard, proclaiming that he wouldn't leave until he was voted on the show.
The video also showcased Ferguson sporting a custom Blackhawks jersey reading "Regis Phil-in" on the ice at the United Center.
In an interview with Robert Feder for his "Time Out Chicago" blog, Ferguson called the opportunity "both stunning and scary."
Amid the retirement announcement and outpouring of support from fellow Chicagoans, Ferguson also added, "I have no idea what's in store for me, but we're all about to find out."