Dick Clark will be in bed instead of hovering over Times Square this Friday night

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 30, 2004 08:00 AM

New Year’s Eve will be a lot different this year: American Bandstand icon Dick Clark will be in a hospital bed, recovering from a stroke, instead of leading the countdown on TV from Times Square.

Clark, 75, suffered what was described as a mild stroke and has been under treatment since Dec. 6. Subbing for him on Friday night’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2005 on ABC will be Regis Philbin.

“Even though I won’t be in New York this year, I will be watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on TV, and there’s one tradition I intend to maintain,” Clark said in a statement. “As I always have in the past, at midnight I plan on kissing my wife Kari and wishing her a happy new year.”

While various publications have suggested that Clark’s stroke may have been more severe than is being reported, his publicist, Paul Shefrin, tells AP that the TV veteran has been “doing some rehab” and that no hospital release date has been set. The location of Clark is being kept secret for reasons of privacy.

Shefrin would not elaborate beyond that, nor will discuss whether there was paralysis or impaired speech, as was reported in the supermarket tabloids.

“I will neither confirm nor deny what’s in the tabloids but there are things in the tabloid reports that are false,” Shefrin said, noting, “I talked with him last night.”