So Regis Philbin really did announce his exit on 15 minutes' notice

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Soon after Regis Philbin revealed that he'll be retiring from "Live" at some point in 2011, reports emerged that he dropped the bomb on co-host Kelly Ripa just before they went on air.

We took this with a grain of salt, because, well, it sounds horrible. But apparently it's true.

Philbin confirms to Access Hollywood that it was just moments before air that he broke the news to Ripa and producer (and pal) Michael Gelman. But he does have a good reason.

"I was told by everybody within the ABC structure to do this the morning of my announcement," he says. "We all had a meeting that day, and I told them this was it."

Their ensuing reactions were as you might expect. "I saw Kelly's eyes well up a little bit," he says, "and Gelman got a little white. But it had to be done."

Philbin also explains his biggest regret about his years on the show: he never interviewed Barbra Streisand.

Your move, Babs. The gauntlet has been thrown.

Photo/Video credit: ABC