09/02/1996 at 01:00 AM EDT
FATHER KNOWS BEST
CERTAINLY SHE IS NOT THE FIRST young talk show staffer to dream of a show of her own. But few have been groomed for the role as long as Joanna Philbin, a talent assistant for the Rosie O'Donnell
Show, whose father, Regis, first thrust her in front of the cameras when she was 2 months old. "My father brought me on and changed my diapers," says Philbin, now 23. "Talk about auspicious beginnings."
Then the host of an L.A. morning show, Regis, who already knew how to milk an audience, brought her back to the studio on the show's last day. Says Philbin: "He was like, 'Look at me. I'm out of work. I've got this little baby.' " Soon after, Regis cohosted shows in L.A. and in New York City, where he and wife Joy moved the family in 1983 (and where Live with Regis & Kathie Lee was launched in 1988). And whenever Joanna or sister Jennifer, 21, had problems, Dad would bring them on the show to talk things over. "We have a tape of a child expert helping my sister and me with sibling rivalry because we were always fighting," says Joanna.
So it's little wonder that for Philbin, a 1995 Brown University grad who hopes eventually to be on the air herself, television seems like home. After all, she says, her father "would always say, 'You're a natural. This is what you Should do.' "