"Live! With Regis and Kelly" from Las Vegas is turning out to be more than promos galore for our city.
For many who view a weekend in Vegas as therapy, here's a vote for one of the best feel-good stories of the year.
It started with Misty Tyson of Toronto writing a letter to "Live! With Regis and Kelly" outlining why she and her four gal pals should be selected to join Regis Philbin's co-host Kelly Ripa on her "Girls night out Vegas-style."
But the letter contained so much "heavy stuff," Tyson said, "I couldn't get through it. I was bawling my eyes out."
It wasn't until the deadline day for the letters that she remembered to finish it and send it by e-mail.
Two hours later, someone from the show called and wanted a video. At that point, Tyson let her gal pals in on the letter.
They put together a video and boom!, they were called with the news that they were going to Las Vegas.
It's been a rough year or two for the Toronto women: Tyson, Heidi Allen, Spiria Fearon-Henry, Mercedez DeCastro-DeNino and Jenny Cosgrove.
"A lot of deaths in our families, a stillborn, cancer, blood disease, breast cancer, a nasty breakup. We deal with it with pink champagne and cupcakes," the bubbly Tyson said.
"Jenny's life dream was to meet Kelly and Jenny's a cancer survivor," Tyson said. "When Jenny was going through chemo, lying in bed, sick as a dog, she would watch (the show) and that got her through a really rough time."
Their story was promo'd on TV so often that once they got here, they were recognized left and right, Tyson said.
Their visit started with the Wynn Las Vegas "treating us like we were the Queen of Sheba," she said. All five are sharing a 22nd-floor Wynn suite with a western view of the mountains.
"We even had a butler," Tyson said.
Then came their night out with Ripa. After dinner at the Lakeside Grill, formerly Daniel Boulud's, they were whisked to a party bus and taken to the Australian male revue "Thunder From Down Under" at Excalibur.
"Kelly cringed when I was picked to go on stage," Tyson said.
From there, they returned to the Wynn for gambling lessons and had champagne in the owner's booth at Tryst nightclub, including a bodyguard. On Sunday, they were cheering at every break during the first two of four tapings at the Wynn.
Communications consultant Mario Diaz, a former sports anchor at KTNV-TV, Channel 13 and HBO's Spanish boxing broadcaster, and his wife Katie, celebrating their first wedding anniversary at the 11 a.m. taping of "Live! With Regis and Kelly." Two years ago, they got engaged in New York City and went to the show the next day. ... Regis and Kelly had fun teasing colleague Doug Elfman during the second taping. Regis suggested Elfman had a crush on Ripa, whom he had interviewed last week. After some laughs, they invited Elfman backstage afterward. ... ABC talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, a Regis and Kelly guest Sunday, introduced his aunts Chippy and Fran, who were in the audience.
THE PUNCH LINE
In Sunday's second taping, Ripa was asked what kind of Vegas show she would have if she could have one. "Kelly's All Nude Revue," she said. Philbin joked, "I've seen it. It ain't much!" Ripa: "It would be a show where people pay you to put your clothes back on."