Jess Cagle
April 15, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

For any number of reasons — vacation, weather, diaper rash — Kathie Lee Gifford sometimes can’t be there for Regis Philbin on Live With Regis & Kathie Lee. On those occasions, it’s a joy to see Joy Philbin, Regis’ wife of 24 years, take her place, because she knows how to torture him better even than Kathie Lee and can puncture his ego just by crossing her arms. Not long ago she announced that they had taken to separate beds because of his snoring. The secret to their TV chemistry? ”We never talk about what we’re going to talk about,” says Joy.

Fans can now tune in to her new-this-month syndicated talk show, Haven. Produced by the Home Furnishings Council (a trade group for which Gifford is a spokesperson), Haven bills itself as the first weekly TV series devoted entirely to home decorating. ”It’s very near and dear to my heart,” says Joy, who worked as cohost on the mid-’80s Lifetime show, Regis Philbin’s Lifestyles. ”Since we’ve been married, Regis and I have done about eight houses.”

Haven‘s debut show included a tour of Gifford’s Connecticut spread. Upcoming shows will feature Neil Sedaka’s home and White House decorator Kaki Hockersmith. Joy’s dream assignment? ”I would love to see Jacqueline Onassis’ apartment but don’t expect to.” She will get advice from guests on such topics as wood veneer and cedar chests (”We all know cedar chests are popular for storage,” she says on the show, ”but did you know they actually have a variety of uses?”). Viewers can call an 800 number to get information on furnishings shown on air.

Joy will still fill in on Live, and Regis will return the favor by showing up on Haven now and then. ”He’s very supportive,” says Joy.

”It’s fun when people stop him on the street and say, ‘When is Joy’s show coming on the air?’ because I’m always the one who hears, ‘Where’s Regis?’ ” Says Regis: ”It’s getting on my nerves. Who cares about that show?!”

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