PASSAGES: Christopher Reeve Rings in '03
SET: Christopher Reeve, 50, and his wife, Dana, will be in New York City with Mayor Mike Bloomberg for this year’s New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square, event organizers tell Reuters. Last year’s special guest was former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who administered the oath of office to Bloomberg, his successor, just after midnight on Jan. 1 in Times Square.
BUSTED: Former “Eight Is Enough” child actor Adam Rich, now 34, was arrested early Wednesday after he drove onto a closed highway lane and nearly struck a California Highway Patrol car, authorities tell AP. Rich, who played Nicholas on the ’70s series (and has been a patient of the Betty Ford Clinic for a substance-abuse problem), was booked for investigation of driving under the influence, says CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.
CAST: Former “3rd Rock from the Sun” Emmy winner Kristen Johnston, 35, will return to TV next fall in an as-yet-untitled sitcom for ABC, Variety reports. She’s hoping the show will have a “Cheers” and “Taxi”-like vibe. Produced by David Letterman and Rob Burnett‘s company Worldwide Pants, the ensemble show will be produced in New York, with playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (“Fuddy Meers”) onboard to write the pilot.
DIED: Stephen Paul Rauen, 15, of New Mexico, attempting a stunt some claim was inspired by “Jackass: The Movie,” was killed after he tried to hold on to a moving pickup truck and was instead thrown from the vehicle, police tell Reuters. The makers of the film deny there was any stunt in the movie similar to the one that killed the teen. “We’re sorry to hear that this unfortunate incident has happened. No matter how a tragedy occurs, it’s especially horrible when a young person is involved,” MTV says in a statement.
INTERRUPTED: President George W. Bush had an intruder in the White House, albeit a familiar one, The Washington Post reports. Barney, the Bushes’ pet Scottish terrier, broke into the Roosevelt Room Tuesday just as the Chief Executive was reading “The Night Before Christmas” to a group of 60 third-graders. The dog actually scared some of the kids, said the paper, and even the president was forced to say, “He’s pretty ferocious-looking when you first look at him.” Bush gave up reading after one page, says The Post, and turned the chore over to his wife, Laura. “Pretty exciting so far, isn’t it?” the leader of the Free World said as he passed the book.