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Who needs a co-host with these ratings?

Kathie Lee who?

Ratings for Regis Philbin's daily talk show have been soaring since his former co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, left on July 28.

The first three weeks of Live with Regis this summer had 26 percent more viewers than the same three weeks of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Since Gifford's tearful departure after 15 years next to Philbin on the syndicated show, he has worked with a succession of guests, including Dolly Parton this week.

Executive producer Michael Gelman said he is not really surprised by the ratings surge. Gifford had her fans, but she was a polarizing figure, he said.

"When she said goodbye, it opened us up to a whole new audience of those who either might not have been fans or hadn't even thought about the show," he said.

Gelman and Philbin had already planned to take their time selecting a replacement. The Nielsen numbers mean their bosses won't be pressuring to hurry.

The people responsible for the show even have discussed not naming a permanent co-host, Gelman said.

"But I think we all at some point want to settle down with somebody," Gelman said.

Eminem takes three MTV awards

NEW YORK (AP) _ Foul-mouthed rapper Eminem performed The Real Slim Shady while walking into Radio City Music Hall with an army of lookalikes Thursday, then walked out with the top honors on the MTV Video Music Awards.

Along the way, pop music's annual wild party lived up to its reputation with a high-altitude stagecrasher, profane jokes that tested the censor's trigger finger and a winner who admitted she hated making videos.

Eminem's signature song was named video of the year and best male video. He rapped it while walking in off Sixth Avenue, where earlier in the evening a gay rights group protested his violent lyrics.

"I'm going to take this home and put it right between my Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera posters," he said while toting his trophy, mentioning the two teen singers he has ridiculed in song.

Another Eminem nemesis, the pop band "N Sync, took home three trophies, including best pop video and viewer's choice for their marionette clip, Bye Bye Bye.

Slinky soul star Aaliyah, rock veterans Red Hot Chili Peppers, Macy Gray and Bjork each won two awards. Eminem shared a third award with mentor Dr. Dre.

_ Compiled from Times wires.