GOOD MORNING after: Barbra Streisand’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day shows at the MGM Grand were not the only grand entries into the year 2000 for Barbra and her fans. The faithful also bought over a half million-$ in merchandise commemorating the occasion(s). They lined up at kiosks throughout the hotel and at a boutique where sale items ranged from T-shirts, sweatshirts, wraps, jackets, champagne glasses — all with the notation of the Streisand-millennium show. The event, which cost over $8 million to produce, will break the boxoffice record ($13 million) for a single night, held by the Three Tenors in Giant Stadium. Over 13,000 attended the MGM Grand’s first show, with 8,000 for New Year’s Day, as more cameras were moved in to tape a TV spec/videocassette. It will not be seen until after Barbra completes her March dates in Sydney and Melbourne — if they are her final live appearances. If she decides she’s having such a good time (as she did in Vegas) and wants to continue concert’ing, then the TV’er/tape will wait. After all, they are unique — in more ways than one. Meanwhile, Don Mischer, who produced the show with Barbra, will spend two months editing the tapes for TV; with a new technology, Barbra will participate in editing from her home while he does so in town. Streisand and Mischer produced the live show with Kenny Ortega joining her in the show’s directing credits.
FRANCE’S PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC was phoning Line Renaud at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas — just as she was calling me! Of course she took his call. When she returned, Renaud, who had once been asked by Chirac to be the country’s Minister of Culture, reported that he had just returned from a tour inspecting the storm damage in France where, Line reported, there are still 5 million people without power! She had left France for Vegas, before the storm — which later tore the roof from her home in Versailles and uprooted a 4,000-year-old tree. She’s in Vegas at the Paris hotel to help ready the “Notre Dame de Paris” spectacle, which bows in the hotel’s showroom Jan. 21. She co-presents with Wayne Baruch, who produces with Joseph Rascoff. The show, a longtime hit in France and Montreal, will be presented on the showroom stage, which is as big as Radio City Music Hall’s. The preem benefits the Neil Bogart Fund. Will Jennings translated the book from the French and one of the tunes, “Live For the One I Love,” was recorded by Celine Dion. Renaud will also be honored for her humanitarian work via her foundation, Together Against AIDS, at the Palm Springs Film Festival Jan. 14, at a screening of “Belle Maman” (with English subtitles), in which she costars as Catherine Deneuve’s lesbian mother. Renaud had recently been in Point Noir and Libraville in Africa helping mobile Red Cross hospital units in AIDS education, information and prevention.
BEYOND ANY DOUBT, ABC’s 26-hour global coverage of New Year’s Eve — combining news events interwoven with non-stop “live” entertainment — was the winner. Gary Smith, who produced along with ABC News producers Tom Yellin, Mark Burstein and Phyllis McGrady, tips his hat to ABC’s News president David Westin, “who went out on a limb — despite those who were opposed, he stuck to his guns.” Smith said all the performers “cooperated continually on their phases.” Interestingly, Neil Diamond, leading in New Year’s in Denver (Mountain Standard Time) was connected from a computer in N.Y. cueing his soundtrack to start “America” in time to wind at the exact second of the midnight countdown. Dwight Hemion was there to direct that seg for producer Gail Purse. Billy Joel’s act was as critical to start/stop from Madison Square Garden. As for Hollywood, Smith said weather almost washed out the Hollywood sign. Dan Netter produced that seg. Ricky Kirshner was “live” in N.Y., where Smith said, “It was very emotional for us all (at ABC 1500 B’way); at one time Roger Goodman, our director, could have talked to 500 people on the phone! It was a team effort.” Referring to Peter Jennings, Smith said, “He was incredible.”
IN D.C., AFTER THEIR CBS special from the Lincoln Memorial, producers George Stevens Jr., Quincy Jones and Michael Stevens rejoined the Clintons’ guests in the White House where the party went on until 5 ayem (with no TV sets in evidence) as all partied. Earlier, at the White House dinner, Clinton sat between Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Edward Albee came over from his table to hello Elizabeth; they hadn’t seen one another since “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Saturday, many of this same group (plus others) rejoined at the Stevens’ home, where the party started up again at 6:30 p.m., this time without the Clintons. Chelsea and her parents stayed home to watch the Rose Bowl game in which her school, Stanford, played (and lost to) Wisconsin … The most memorable moments of coverage of the arrival of the year 2000: the Eiffel Tower’s unique display of fireworks and the picture of the patient 500,000 in the Washington mall. And not one arrest. It was a sample of hope overcoming fear. … On the home front, new owners of 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. take over space occupied by Jimmy Murphy’s eatery Jan. 29, forcing him to move out of his million-dollar renovated, classy spot in BevHills.