GOOD MORNING: There’ll be a Reagan partying in Washington Jan. 20 — but he won’t be celebrating George W.’s election. Ron Reagan, the 42-year-old son of President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy, tells me he’ll be there co-hosting a party of the Creative Coalition with Billy Baldwin; heading their efforts is campaign financing reform. “And I’m not too optimistic that meaningful campaign reform is part of the agenda of George W. Bush.” Although Ronald Reagan Jr. says of his politics, “I am nonpartisan,” he leaves no doubt about his opinion of George W.’s qualifications. “He’s in no way qualified for the job. He’s president in name only; it’s the people who pushed him into the job. It’s embarrassing for our country.” Of course, Ron is no stranger to the White House; he was 22 when his father became president. As for being a presidential child being protected by the Secret Service: “That was no way to live. I asked to be relieved of them after 18 months.” Ron has no intentions of writing his autobiography. “I guess I’m the only member of the family who has not written his book. I have no intention of trashing my parents.” The conversation of books came up because Ron on Jan. 15 begins hosting his five-minute, five-times-a-week Internet video show, “Publishers Weekly Minutes,” on Alternative Entertainment Network (aentv.com), in a producing partnership with Publishers Weekly magazine. He’ll review books and authors as well as report publishing news and views. First guest is Sidney Sheldon. Ron has always been an avid reader and says it’s an inherited trait, from both parents. He says his father learned to read at the age of 3. Asked how President Reagan is doing, he noted sadly, “He’s doing OK but, you know, he has Alzheimer’s. He will be 90 Feb. 6” — when an aircraft carrier will be christened in his name. Ron, who lives in Seattle but tapes (or whatever) in Woodland Hills, said he saw his parents just before Christmas … Ron and wife Doria, a psychiatrist, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anni. Ron, who has seen a career segue from ballet (a member of the Joffrey) to radio and TV host and correspondent, said he has not yet seen “Billy Elliot” but sez he is aware of some of its similarities.
AT PRIVATE SCREENINGS of “Festival,” Henry Jaglom’s look at Hollywood as seen by him at the Cannes fest, five producers have come up to Henry and said of Ron Silver’s unsavory film producer character: “That’s me!” The film shows “the glamour and sleaze of Hollywood and how it discards its women as they grow older.” Anouk Aimee, “who is more beautiful than ever,” co-stars with Max Schell as the director and Greta Scacchi as Silver’s actress-wife. At the Cannes filming, Jaglom got cameos including Faye Dunaway, William Shatner, Peter Bogdanovich — and Bob Shaye as the studio head. John Goldstone’s Revere Entertainment, which financed, has two more pix pacted with director-writer-producer Jaglom’s Rainbow Film Co. … While another “Nutty Professor” is among the projects perking between Eddie Murphy and Brian Grazer-Ron Howard’s Imagine, Grazer tells me there’s yet another (untitled) film; this one will not call on Murphy for 5 ayem makeup calls and no prosthetics, but has him again display his physical (as well as comedic, natch) talents in a survival pic. It would follow Murphy’s “Incredible Shrinking Man” for Imagine. “Nutty Professor II — The Klumps” passed the $100 million mark in video sales; Grazer reminds it topped the original “Nutty” video … Apart from Murphy’s projects, Grazer’s determined to complete the following pix pre-strike: “A Beautiful Mind,” “Stealing Stanford” and “Undercover Brother,” based on the Internet’s “UB,” with Malcolm Leigh directing Eddie Griffin.
“WE PAID BACK INVESTORS two months after the opening,” a proud Henry Winkler said from backstage at the Music Box, where Neil Simon’s “The Dinner Party” has set a house record, he claimed. Despite the show’s success and longevity (from L.A.-D.C. to N.Y., Oct. 19) the company was rehearsing Thursday between shows. Howcum? “It keeps us snappy,” Winkler said. He will stay with the show until spring, when he’ll return to his family in L.A. — and to “look for another series to act in.” Winkler, who is a successful producer-director, claims he wants to return to series acting because “it’s a great way to earn a good living and go home every night!” P.S. He’s also producing Neil Schustermann’s “The Down Siders” for the Disney Channel, plus another TV pic for Par/Showtime … While the Center Theatre Group’s Gordon Davidson is ogling London plays as possibilities for L.A.’s Taper and Ahmanson boards, he also is readying four new plays to bow at the Taper this season. And he continues plans to raise endowments to launch a legiter (two stages) in the Culver (City) movie house. “I think Culver City is the next expansion site for new play development and a theater for youth.” He’s frankly looking for a name donor … On Monday, Burt Reynolds starts his third feature sans break: It’s “The Hermit of Amsterdam” co-starring Julie Christie and Carmen Chaplin. He previously wound “Driven” with Sylvester Stallone and “Tempted” … The many friends of Liz (Mrs. Gerry) Byrne are praying for her recovery. She’s in ICU at the Stony Brook Hospital after neurosurgery. Gerry, former publisher of Variety and Daily Variety, is president and CEO of Stagebill.