Los Angeles — This year's April Fool's Day victim in Hollywood appears to be Dick Clark, the energetic septuagenarian producer/personality who has been the host of myriad popular television shows, including the long-running "American Bandstand," "The $10,000 Pyramid," NBC's "The Other Half" and "Rockin' New Year's Eve" specials.
According to stories that were published Monday on at least three different entertainment-oriented Web sites, mostly anonymous network insiders revealed that Clark had been selected to host the syndicated version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
That would have made him one of the oldest hosts in game show history. The only glitch? It's not true.
"We have no idea where this started," says Paul Shefrin, Clark's publicist. "No one seems to know anything about it."
A source at Buena Vista Television, the Disney-owned group that is responsible for creating the syndicated "Millionaire" show, confirms that the story is nothing more than a rumor. Clark can't comment on the story himself because he's out of the country.
In one sense, though, the story fits in with what has come out of the "Millionaire" office in recent weeks. For instance, unhappy with the way ABC has treated him and the network version of the show Philbin has said he is not interested in taking on the duties of hosting the syndicated version of "Millionaire." So producers have been forced to search for a new host for the spin-off show.
The only big thing currently on Clark's plate for ABC right now, says Shefrin, is a 50th anniversary of "American Bandstand" to be broadcast May 3. Two-hour special will include a variety of past and present musicians, including Michael Jackson, Cher, KISS and Alanis Morissette.
Two of the Web sites that published the rumor quoted each other as the official source. Zentertainment.com, an entertainment site run by Los Angeles-based Sean Jordan, refers to a story on TVbarn.com, a site run by Aaron Barnhart, the TV critic for the Kansas City Star.
Another site that published the rumor is TVgameshows.net, which claims to have received confirmation "in the wee hours of Monday morning by a mid-South station manager who had been informed by fax over the weekend."