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Regis To Sub For Ailing Dick Clark

Regis Philbin will fill in as host of ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005" for Dick Clark, who suffered a mild stroke last week, the network announced Monday.

Philbin, co-host of the syndicated "Regis & Kelly," has made subbing for ailing entertainers something of a specialty, coming to David Letterman's aid when Letterman underwent heart bypass surgery in 2000 and recovered from an eye infection in 2003.

Clark remains hospitalized following his stroke, spokesman Paul Shefrin said, but is "getting better every day."

In a statement, Clark said his doctors advised against the New Year's Eve duties, saying it was too soon.

"The period of recovery is dependent upon the size of the stroke, but it can be anywhere from 24 hours to up to about a year to recover," neurosurgeon Dr. Phillip Steig of New York Presbyterian Hospital told CBS Radio News last week. "In the situation like Dick Clark, who's had a small stroke, he'll make a good recovery, and it's very probable with a small stroke he'll get back to leading a normal life."

The 75-year-old Clark has been host of a New Year's Eve special for 32 years.

Philbin will be joined by singer Ashlee Simpson, who's hosting the West Coast part of the show. Besides Simpson, performers include Big & Rich, Ciara, Earth, Wind & Fire, Good Charlotte and Billy Idol.

"It's the greatest 'temp job' in the world," Philbin said.

Clark produces the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and Golden Globe Awards.

Clark, a 1951 business graduate of Syracuse University, began his career at a radio station in Utica, N.Y. He first produced and hosted "American Bandstand" (then just "Bandstand") as a local television show in Philadelphia before it was picked up by the fledgling ABC network in 1957. Two years later, it was airing on more than 100 stations, with 20 million viewers. He also is credited with ending the show's all-white policy when it went national.

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