October 28, 1996 12:00 PM

>Laurie Hibberd and Michael Gelman


Passersby sometimes do a double take when they see Live with Regis & Kathie Lee executive producer Michael Gelman walking hand-in-hand with Fox After Breakfast’s Laurie Hibberd. Gelman, 35, is the hapless, on-camera foil of wiseacres Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. And Hibberd, 32, is the cohost (with Tom Bergeron) of the new Fox show that is up against Gel-man’s in 98 percent of the nation’s TV markets. Yet the couple insist the rivalry hasn’t harmed their 2½-year relationship. Indeed, last month they began sharing an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Cynthia Wang caught up with them on a park bench near Hibberd’s office.

How competitive are you?

She: I don’t want our show to crush Regis & Kathie Lee. And I’m sure he wants us to have as much success.

Do you talk shop at home?

She: Michael always tells me I’m using my hands too much.

He: They’re very expressive hands. She: Then I’ll call him and say, “Kathie Lee’s skirt was too short.”

What do you do to unwind?

She: Lately we eat Indian food while watching TV in bed.

He: We also play tennis on weekends.

She: We are a good doubles team.

He: Occasionally we split up and go with other partners.

She: I hate when that happens.

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