May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

After a series of run-ins with the law—including drug possession and weapons charges—Robert Downey Jr., 33, may finally have learned to take it one day at a time. Having completed nearly two-thirds of his six-month sentence in L.A. County Jail for parole violation, the actor was released on March 31 to enter a drug-treatment center. But now I hear that Downey decided that he needed a more rigorous recovery program and switched to a different facility where he must have a roommate, follow house rules, and attend group meetings. Treatment doesn’t stop at the front door, either; while filming Friends and Lovers, a romantic comedy he shot in Utah last month, Downey flew home to his halfway house in L.A. each night.

Now that Tom Snyder has announced plans to leave The Late Late Show as early as December, the hunt is on to find his replacement. Surprisingly, Jon Stewart, often cited as the front-runner for the post-Letterman slot, doesn’t seem to want the job. Stewart has guest hosted for Snyder, which fueled speculation that CBS would jettison Snyder in favor of the younger, hipper comedian. But Stewart has moved on to other projects, including the final season of HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show and a role in the upcoming horror film written by Scream scribe Kevin Williamson. As rumors of Snyder’s retirement began swirling last month, we asked Stewart if he’d take the torch, and he seemed blasé. “I don’t know,” he said. “I try not to plan too far in advance.”

Despite President Clinton’s presence at the White House Correspondents dinner, Paula Jones was far more interested in cornering Tom Selleck for a chat. She begged members of her entourage, as well as nearby reporters, to arrange a meeting with the actor. When that didn’t happen, she contented herself by talking to former political headliner Donna Rice, who stopped by later to say hello.

Luciano Pavarotti performing with the Spice Girls? Pinch me! Yup, the great tenor will join the fab five on June 9 in Modena, Italy, where he will sing with a number of performers, including Natalie Cole, at his annual fund-raiser for the aid agency War Child. Cole is trying to persuade Pavarotti to sing “Unforgettable” with her, in a reprise of the Grammy-winning duet she mixed with her father, Nat King Cole. “It’s the first time I’ve ever asked anyone to sing that song with me,” says Cole. “I think it would be so beautiful.”

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