In Depth

In Their Own Words: Peter Lassally

Executive producer of “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and longtime friend of Regis Philbin

I met Regis Philbin at an NBC page reunion party. I was on the Carson show, so it must have been 20 or 25 years ago. We both were pages, but at different times. We became friends. Good, close friends. I’ve never worked with Regis except when he was a guest. I was a fan of his because I’ve seen all his different talk shows. Three of the guys I have worked with, namely Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, all are in awe of Regis and would say to me, “How does he do it? He can have a bad guest and make them look good.” He somehow makes every guest look good. I know from experience that any host can have a bad guest and die with them, but Regis somehow doesn’t do that. And yet he’s as insecure as most performers off-camera. So he doesn’t believe it when I say, “Well, Dave thinks you’re just the best there is.”

The relationship with Letterman is sensational. Regis used to be a very bad guest for many years, until he somehow found a hook in saying, “I wanna be friends with Dave.” Ever since he found that, he became better and better and better. So now it’s all, “Poor Regis, Dave won’t go out with him, Dave won’t be his friend,” and it’s a sensational arrangement. Now he’s a great guest. Whenever Dave needs security, he asks Regis to be the guest. That’s his anchor. It’s just the perfect arrangement.