DOCTORS WARN DICK CLARK: TAKE IT EASY, OR ELSE

Published on: December 17, 2004

Stroke survivor Dick Clark is determined to be in Times Square when the ball drops on New Year's Eve, but doctors warn that if he doesn't stay home and recuperate, he could drop dead from another stroke!

"His doctors told him he needs to take it easy," a close source told The ENQUIRER. "Otherwise, he risks another stroke. And the next time could be a lot worse."

Clark, dubbed "America's Oldest Teenager," was at his Malibu home December 6 when he suffered a mild stroke and was rushed to the hospital.

The mega-producer, who has hosted "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" on ABC for 32 years, later released this optimistic statement: "The doctors tell me I should be back in the swing of things before too long, so I'm hopeful to be able to make it to Times Square to help lead the country in bringing in the New Year once again."

CAUTIOUS
But Dick's docs are more guarded.

They have warned the 75-year-old, who is also diabetic, that it could snow, rain or be bitterly cold in Times Square on December 31, and that would make it very dangerous for him to stand outdoors all night, sources tell The ENQUIRER.

As a result, ABC is already looking at possible replacements -- including Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.

COUPLE WANTED
"ABC wants a male and female couple instead of one host, and Nick and Jessica are at the top of their wish list," said the source.

If they can't get the sexy duo, their second choice would be the gorgeous stars of ABC's two hottest shows, Matthew Fox, the star of "Lost," and either Teri Hatcher or Eva Longoria from "Desperate Housewives," reveals the close source.

Meanwhile, doctors are ordering Clark, who is the head of a multimillion- dollar production company, not to work and to avoid all stress.

Sources say his physicians wouldn't even allow him to take business calls from his hospital room bed.

"Dick is going a little stir-crazy," said the source. "But he has no choice but to cut back drastically on his workload."

When asked if that includes "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," Clark's publicist, Paul Shefrin said: "That's something no one can say 100 percent."

-- MICHAEL GLYNN