January 13, 1997 12:00 PM

Partly in an attempt to ease logistical strains in their relationship, Marcia Clark has bought a new house in an area of Los Angeles County that will cut her boyfriend’s commuting time considerably. The former O.J. Simpson prosecutor has been dating blues singer Mitch Kashmar for about a year. But with Clark and her two children living in the Glendale suburb of L.A., and Kashmar spending most of his time working 90 miles to the northwest in Santa Barbara, getting together took time, travel and planning. The new house, a 6,600-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa, is located in the western reaches of the county, much closer to Santa Barbara. And what about Clark’s forthcoming book, for which Viking-Penguin is paying her $4.2 million? She has yet to finish the book, which was originally scheduled to come out in November. Her agent Norman Brokaw at William Morris now says Clark will complete her manuscript in time for publication this spring….

How did Dennis Franz, Michael Jordan and Miss Piggy end up on Martha Stewart’s Dec. 10 holiday special on CBS? Well, they were the ones who said yes when the decorating diva invited them to help her do her Christmas tree. But I have obtained lists of at least 75 other celebs who were asked to be guests on Stewart’s show via form letters. “[Star’s name] could chat with Martha and help in outdoor decorating, making Christmas cookies and ornaments in her farmhouse kitchen,” the letter reads. Invitees who declined or never responded include Tom Hanks, Plácido Domingo, Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Emma Thompson, Wayne Gretzky, Clint Eastwood, John E Kennedy Jr., and Robin Williams. Stewart’s rep says, “Martha was happy to have the guests she had.”…

Look for Hal Linden to make a surprise cameo on the Jan. 13 episode of NBC’s Mr. Rhodes. Linden, whose classic police sitcom Barney Miller went off the air 14 years ago, plays a jailer on Rhodes who encounters another Barney Miller alum, Ron Glass, a Rhodes regular, in prison banging a tin cup on the bars of his cell. Linden says, “Do I know you from somewhere?” The episode, by the way, was directed by John Rich, director of the original Barney Miller pilot….

Actor Chris O’Donnell, who recently became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, kindergarten teacher Caroline Fentress, was spotted posing for pictures at the Dec. 6 basketball game in L.A. between the Lakers and the Orlando Magic. Understand, O’Donnell wasn’t posing with players or fans; he was patiently posing for snaps with those scantily clad, hard-bodied Laker Girls as, one after the other, they cried excitedly, “Now me! Now me!”…

And speaking of Laker Girls, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s victory dance in the end zone following his touchdown and apparent collapse in Jerry Maguire was not something he learned simply by watching Deion Sanders et al. do it for real on Sundays. Gooding’s routine was completely choreographed by the most famous ex-Laker Girl of them all, Paula Abdul.

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