Monday through Thursday this week, Live! with Regis and Kelly does Canada (9 a.m., CTV). The talk show is doing four shows from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and Regis Philbin sounded pretty pumped about it when I spoke with him last week.
“After hearing everybody rave about the place I can’t wait to see it,” said Philbin (right with co-host Kelly Ripa), who worked in a stop at a Moncton, New Brunswick, casino before arriving in P.E.I. Among those raving was executive producer Michael Gelman, who flew out a few months ago to scout the place. Gelman was looking to travel the show, which hits the road three or four times a year, when "the folks in P.E.I. called," he said last week when I interviewed him, along with Philbin, for The Canadian Press (read the full story here).
Both the federal and provincial governments ponied up to cover production and travel costs to bring the show north. The same thing happened in Ontario five years ago when Toronto wooed Late Night with Conan O'Brien across the border. Toronto needed that investment in tourism post-SARS and O'Brien's Canadian shows were wildly successful, with packed audiences at the Elgin Theatre reacting like The Beatles were in town.
With recovery from the recession moving slowly, P.E.I. needed a little something extra to lure Americans across the border this summer. They're hoping four hours of Live! with Regis and Kelly will offer a wide open window on the province. For his part, Gelman plans to show off P.E.I. as much as possible this week. "Whenever we’ve gone on location, the people have been thrilled afterwards," he says. "I know that in New Orleans we were singled out for the great job we did helping their tourism economy."