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Special Event

Millennium 2000: West Coast Welcomes New Year

Aired January 1, 2000 - 3:00 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: It is two minutes and 30 seconds to midnight Pacific Standard Time. The millennium sweep returns to the Pacific, as CNN tracks 2000 to the West Coast of North America.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: But, in Seattle, the celebration has been tempered by that city's concern about terrorism.

SHAW: The new year makes a port call in Vancouver and San Francisco.

WOODRUFF: And it is starring in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

CNN continues its millennium 2000 coverage right now.

SHAW: In the upper left-hand corner of your screen, in the City of Angels, Los Angeles is counting down.

WOODRUFF: And in the upper right-hand corner, Las Vegas, the biggest party in town, we're told. The downtown light show and concert covering four city blocks.

SHAW: And from Knob Hill to the waterfront, this is San Francisco.

WOODRUFF: And, finally, Vancouver, the westernmost big city in our neighbor to the north, Canada, first night, a family-oriented, we are told, alcohol-free event.

SHAW: Everyone counting backwards now as the new millennium hits the Western United States and Canada.

WOODRUFF: Forty seconds to go until these four great cities and the rest of the Pacific Time Zone, and that includes the States of Washington, Seattle -- the State of Oregon, California, and we -- we're looking here at Nevada, and the westernmost portion of Canada. Countdown. Maybe we should be quiet and listen to what's going on. San Francisco.

(LIVE MILLENNIUM 2000 CELEBRATIONS IN LOS ANGELES, LAS VEGAS, SAN FRANCISCO, VANCOUVER)

SHAW: Paul Vercammen is in Las Vegas watching these pictures and listening to the same sound that we're watching.

Paul.

And, in Hollywood, Kyra Phillips is there at that famous sign.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Bernie. You're looking live at the Hollywood sign where John Bryan (ph) is performing up on the stage. I don't know if you can see him. He's right between the L and the Y. The first time ever for a live performer. There we -- there we go. We've got a close shot of John Bryan.

He's described as one of L.A.'s hottest producers. Quirky King of Cool is actually his nickname. Recently, he put the polishing touches on Fiona Apple's new album, he also did the score for the new film "Magnolia," and he's a very popular session musician here in L.A. A lot of people know his name. He's worked with a wide range of artists from Melissa Etheridge to Nine Inch Nails.

I don't know if you can hear him or not. Can you hear him singing, Bernie?

SHAW: Paul Vercammen, what's the -- what's the mood there in Las Vegas, too?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in Las Vegas, they say it's a city of great hedonism. It's just sheer exuberance here. The -- one of the newest hotels in Las Vegas is the Paris, and the Eiffel Tower here sort of simulated a giant champagne bottle that was being uncorked for all the world to see. The top of it was spouting all sorts of sparks and confetti and fireworks.

There are a lot of people right now in Las Vegas who are, for lack of a better term, partying on the streets, but there's an awful lot of people indoors, some 1,300 of them, in fact, indoors watching Barbra Streisand right now, and I'm at the Four Seasons very close to the Mandalay Bay next door. You've got Bette Midler performing. And a myriad of other concerts.

So it's sort of a dual-pronged party here with a lot of the revelers out there having a good time and many other people taking in their favorite artist, not the least of which, of course, is Barbra Streisand, with some of those tickets going for up to $2,500 a pop, and I have to tell you I was in the Barbra Streisand show briefly, and I watched some of it, and when she appeared, it had the feeling of not so much a music concert but a football game.

When she stepped on to that stage, the MGM just exploded, and there was this roar. She went into her routine, she looked fit as a fiddle, and everybody inside that concert hall, I'll tell you, was telling me that they got their money's worth. A lot of A-list stars there, including Rod Steiger and Paul Rodriguez. Some big movers and shakers from Hollywood. Studio types that also showed up.

So Las Vegas is living up to its reputation as a fun city right now, Bernie, as the people are, as I said, on the street and in the various casinos, and they're whooping it up in fine tradition.

SHAW: OK. Paul Vercammen, as we look at San Francisco. WOODRUFF: And, in San Francisco, we're hearing -- maybe you could call it more ethereal music. On the location for CNN, our own Greg Lefevre.

Greg, is there something going on at the Golden Gate Bridge?

GREG LEFEVRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Golden Gate Bridge was a very quiet affair, as we -- as we learned earlier this year when the city canceled its plans to host a fireworks show at the Golden Gate Bridge. The early stories were that there wasn't enough money in the public coffers to come up with such a celebration.

And so the celebrations were concentrated to the one you see here along the embarcadero, the central point of San Francisco's waterfront. There you see the clock tower at the ferry building, a very famous landmark on the waterfront at San Francisco. A beautiful night in San Francisco. Fog was threatening the skies and a very potent and familiar weather condition there in the bay area. But, as you can see, the fog certainly hasn't affected the folks down there along the embarcadero enjoying themselves as the fireworks and the music play on.

Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Greg, I don't know whether to trust the information I have. I'm sorry about that -- about the Golden Gate reference. We also were told that there was the world's largest martini glass that was going to be illuminated on the seventh story of the Westin St. Francis Hotel with a giant olive that was going to drop several stories. Am I wrong about that, too?

LEFEVRE: The -- you're right. The rumors were true, and there were plans, indeed, but then in the plaza below at Union Square -- it clashed with the theme. Down in Union Square below the St. Francis Hotel was to be an alcohol-free peace rally, and the folks at the St. Francis Hotel, an historic, old place in San Francisco, decided that perhaps it was not necessarily appropriate to have both of those events at the same time, and so they canceled the martini.

SHAW: Greg, I'm wondering how much of this reticence to really open up the city coffers had to do with the fact that you had a runoff in the elections and that you had the -- the second election for the mayor's race.

LEFEVRE: You know, I -- I think it distracted an awful lot of people. There was a lot of money that went into both of those campaigns. There perhaps might have been a question about who would be the leader of the city while all this was going on.

But the bottom line is the bottom line, and you can only afford so many parties in a city like San Francisco. Remember the whole town is only seven miles by seven miles, but two large events are going on in the city -- of course, the one you see here along the embarcadero, and then the other event at Union Square. Two big parties with perhaps tens of thousands of people in each. That pretty much straps the city's resources, and the folks around town figured it was a pretty wise decision to limit it to these two events.

WOODRUFF: Well, it looks pretty spectacular from where Bernie and I are sitting with the lights and...

LEFEVRE: The town, indeed, knows how to throw a party.

SHAW: Yeah. I'm just wondering what is the Y2K story line out of your city.

LEFEVRE: The Y2K story line is we probably should enjoy the fireworks because there is not much of a Y2K...

WOODRUFF: All right.

LEFEVRE: ... story.

WOODRUFF: All right. Greg Lefevre.

And look at that -- in San Francisco. They may have cut back, but it still looks pretty -- pretty spectacular.

To another city now where there was even more of a cutback in celebrations because of concerns about security. The city Seattle. Our correspondent Rusty Dornin.

Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, there was quite a cutback. They were supposed to have a millennial bash of 50,000 people in and around the Space Needle.

Now the Space Needle, of course, is the landmark of the city. It was built during the World's Fair of 1962. It symbolizes the future of Seattle, also the coming of age of Seattle. So when it was canceled, it was a big disappointment to many people in Seattle.

However, the fireworks go on, as they do every year, and it was a very short but spectacular fireworks display as you can see. In the beginning, they had even tried to spell out the year 2000 from the top of the dome.

Now, in many years, they have fog that obscures the top of the dome, which has been a problem. This year, as you can see, it was clear. It was beautiful.

People did gather around the outside of the Space Needle on the streets. The police were preventing people from gathering in any large crowds. But there -- I don't think there were any problems in dispersing people in the area. We were -- there were maybe a few hundred people.

We could hear people screaming from around us. So we do know that they were probably scattered around the area and, also, in the hills all around Seattle, they have a very good vantage point of the Space Needle.

But, of course, Seattle did cut back on its big millennium bash due to possible threats of terrorism and, of course, on the heels of the violence that occurred during the World Trade Organization protest.

So a lot of the Seattlites stayed home, came out at the last minute to see the fireworks, but were disappointed they couldn't have a giant party like so many of the places in the world that -- to ring in the new millennium.

Judy.

WOODRUFF: Rusty Dornin, thank you very much from Seattle.

SHAW: And from there, we roll on to Hollywood once again. Here's Kyra Phillips.

PHILLIPS: Hey, I'm pretty excited. I can tell you I spent New Year's with Jay Leno.

JAY LENO, ENTERTAINER: Oh, boy. Paris and Bethlehem. They really paled in comparison to our sign, huh?

PHILLIPS: Hey, come on.

LENO: Eight flood lights from the Home Depot.

PHILLIPS: Oh, it's 400 -- 16 lighting experts. Come on, Jay. Give us a break.

LENO: Yeah, the -- there may be 416 lighting experts out here, but they're not up there. Look at that. Look at that.

PHILLIPS: Well, why didn't you get up and sing?

LENO: Look at that. It looks like all naked inside. Look at that. It just looks like a strip joint.

PHILLIPS: Hey, this is for you. This is from Rick Kaplan, our president.

LENO: Oh, from Rick. Thank you very much, but...

PHILLIPS: Yeah. There you go.

LENO: I didn't realize I had to take a drug test to get in here.

PHILLIPS: hey, listen, what have you done all night besides cause trouble?

LENO: Oh, it's just been fun, fun, fun. New Year's Eve. You were just in Seattle which is -- no, they did -- did they have theirs or didn't they?

PHILLIPS: Yeah. Of course, they did. Everybody was having a celebration.

LENO: Oh, because I know...

PHILLIPS: You saw it.

LENO: ... so many terrorists had to cancel. They were all stuck at the airport, and they couldn't fly out. They had to change flights. It was terrible. You know, they canceled some at the last minute, and everybody's got to make other plans.

PHILLIPS: Did you rehearse this monologue?

LENO: No, I did not.

PHILLIPS: Well, we didn't know we were going to have you with us.

LENO: Well you know who's got the best party? Bin Laden. Boy, that is -- that is the hot party because...

PHILLIPS: Have you been hanging out with Osama again?

LENO: ... because -- well, no, because nobody is going to pull anything because he's -- you know, that's where it's all happening.

PHILLIPS: You're taking away the limelight. Now look at this. How can you say that's not spectacular?

LENO: Yeah, it's pretty spectacular, isn't it? Oh, man. I like when they released the doves in Bethlehem.

PHILLIPS: In Bethlehem?

LENO: They released 2,000 doves and then fireworks. Who's idea was that? The NRA? I mean, it looked like the doves are going, "Hey, it's a trick. They're trying to kill us." I mean, the doves were getting blown up in midair.

PHILLIPS: I need some help here. Anybody? Help.

LENO: Did you see Vatican City? The pope lit an M-80. I couldn't believe it.

PHILLIPS: Here. I'm going to give you the mic. You just kind of take over.

LENO: No, no. Here. Here you go. No, thank you. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Oh, you're not drinking?

LENO: Oh, look at the time. I've got to run. Oh.

PHILLIPS: What are you doing next?

LENO: Next, I'm going to go home and watch "The Dukes of Hazard" marathon on TBS. PHILLIPS: Wait a minute. OK. I...

LENO: This is the cheesiest New Year's Eve.

PHILLIPS: So this is the funnest you've had then so far?

LENO: This is the funnest I've had? Oh, my God.,

PHILLIPS: Yeah!

LENO: Is this one of the gooder interviews?

PHILLIPS: Yes. Don't you think? Isn't this stimulating?

LENO: Oh, what fun this is. It is stimulating.

PHILLIPS: Do you have a message for Ted Turner, by the way?

LENO: Oh, for Ted -- well, no. No. Actually, I don't. I don't. I...

PHILLIPS: Oh, now he gets serious.

LENO: No, I don't have a message for Ted, actually. I've been trying to get Ted on "The Tonight Show." Ted, come on. Come on. I did your cheesy network. Come on ours.

PHILLIPS: All right. Give us a break, would -- how are your ratings, by the way?

LENO: Very good. That's why I can afford to say this stuff.

PHILLIPS: Now Bernie and Judy have a lot better ratings, is what I hear.

LENO: You know my favorite thing about CNN? You know what I love about CNN over...

PHILLIPS: What do you love about CNN?

LENO: Whenever there's a hurricane or a disaster, they send out...

PHILLIPS: We cover it.

LENO: ... their fattest and boldest reporters. Do you ever notice that? When it's like a glamour story, it's always Wolf Blitzer. And then when there's like a...

PHILLIPS: Don't you rip on Wolf.

LENO: No, but then when there's like a...

PHILLIPS: Don't...

LENO: ... some kind of rainstorm, there's one of those poor guys I never heard of chained to a pole in Miami. It's hysterical.

PHILLIPS: Bernie, Judy, can I have some help here, please.

LENO: It's hysterical. It's hysterical.

SHAW: Well, no, tell him the person chained to the pole is at another network.

PHILLIPS: Hey, Bernie, what was that message?

LENO: Hey, there's Candy Crowley out there.

SHAW: No. I said the person chained to the pole was at another network.

PHILLIPS: I need some help.

LENO: Oh, I got...

PHILLIPS: Hey, thanks for joining us, Jay. Are you sure you don't want the champagne?

LENO: No, no.

PHILLIPS: All right. I think the mayor would have been a lot easier to interview, you guys. Whew! I'm sweating right now.

SHAW: Well, you know, he is a big fan of CNN.

PHILLIPS: He is.

WOODRUFF: Evidently so. Big fan of Kyra's. Do you think he was auditioning for a job as a correspondent?

PHILLIPS: Well, I -- I've had a very good time. I -- maybe we should ask him -- hey, you guys want to host his show? I probably can get you on there.

WOODRUFF: Kyra Phillips.

PHILLIPS: Oh, happy new year, you guys.

WOODRUFF: I think he was a little too strong about that. I think that's a very nice sign behind you, and so I would take exception with what Mr. Leno said.

SHAW: Well, Leno is a marvelous host. You know that.

WOODRUFF: Yes.

SHAW: We'll be back. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MILLENNIUM 2000 CELEBRATION IN LAS VEGAS)

SHAW: The Year 2000 in Las Vegas.

In San Francisco, Greg Lefevre has been at the Hewlett-Packard's Y2K Center. Let's check in with him.

LEFEVRE: Well, welcome to Y2 Not. It's been a marvelously, perilously fun, slow night here in Palo Alto, California, where the folks at Hewlett-Packard are running their Y2K command center.

They are coordinating something like 100 offices in 50 different countries out of this room, checking to make sure that their systems and the systems of their customers roll over into the New Year. We are now something like into 20 time zones already and, so far, not a glitch.

With me is Brad Whitworth who's been the honcho here since -- since it was dark this morning.

Brad, you guys have been taking some calls here. What are the kinds of calls you get?

BRAD WHITWORTH, HEWLETT-PACKARD Y2K SPOKESMAN: Well, we've been tracking our customer calls, and there haven't been that many. We're finding that only about 3 percent of our total call volume is dealing with Y2K issues. A lot are just routine support calls that we might get from some of our biggest customers. And when you look at the consumer kinds of customers, the PCs in the home, it's an even smaller percentage. Less than 1 percent of our calls really deal with Y2K.

LEFEVRE: Now I was hearing a story earlier today that in Singapore, the folks were calling you because they were bored, because there wasn't enough call activity to begin with. Is that typical or...

WHITWORTH: I think it's been a little bit of a slow day, and we've been looking for things to do. As we've been monitoring Web sites, we've been talking to customers. We've been talking a lot to HP people all over the globe, trying to ascertain what, if any, Y2K issues really are emerging.

LEFEVRE: Now your own company has something like 13,000 servers, 150,000 computers of your own. Over the four or five years that you've been doing this, you're also trying to satisfy your customers and yourself. Doesn't that put a strain on things?

WHITWORTH: I would say if things got really hectic, it probably would have been a bit of an issue of allocating resources, but we made the decision early on that customers come first, and we were going to do everything we could, even on our internal systems, to make sure the ones we supported first were the ones that supported customers. We didn't have to make that choice, though, today because it's been pretty quiet.

LEFEVRE: OK. Brad Whitworth, thank you very much.

We are told also that this command center will stay on what they call high alert through Monday, which, of course, is the first big business day in the U.S., and then will pick up steam a little bit later on in February as we go into the new leap year calculations and possibly into the first week of March. But, so far, it's been actually a fairly quiet night here, and for the folks in this company, anyway, and a hundred thousand or so that work here, a pretty thankful day as well.

Bernie and Judy, back to you in Atlanta.

WOODRUFF: All right. Greg Lefevre, thanks very much for that look from Palo Alto.

Now to -- back to New York City to Times Square to Fred Hickman.

Fred, any Y2K problems with sweeping the streets of New York?

FRED HICKMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, Judy? Interestingly enough, they have not come up with any sort of technical breakthrough that will substitute for a good push broom and a bucket out here, and there's plenty of debris to get up. About four tons of confetti was dumped off of these buildings or shot out actually by some 150 confetti cannons, and now this massive cleanup is beginning.

But you'll notice there's still quite a good crowd right around the Con Ed stage in the middle of Times Square as the celebrations do continue right through 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time as we celebrate every time zone. It started early this morning, and the people have just not stopped. They're still here. They're still having a good time.

Many are making their way home now, but we've also noticed that in addition to the cleanup crews here, the NYPD generator trucks that were out here -- just in case, they had some special things set up, had there been some sort of an emergency to get the people cleared out, a loud speaker system and a whole evacuation system in place. None of that was necessary. So some of those guys are starting to pull out now.

So, indeed, it is winding down, but it has been just an incredible evening here from the Waterford crystal ball coming down to, you know, just all of the many, many people out there. They estimate somewhere around 2.5 million people were in Times Square tonight, all the way from 34th Street down to 59th Street between 6th and 8th Avenues. Just wall-to-wall people.

And the great news -- once again, I need to reiterate this. It was a police operation as well as a -- you know, just -- just good planning, but the people here -- the New Yorkers and the visitors were so well behaved and -- and so full of love, we only had 14 arrests on the evening, and those were from minor offenses.

So, all in all, I think this has probably been one of the most raving successes along with it being the largest party ever thrown in this particular part of New York ever. I don't know how they're going to top it, quite -- but it's been a lot of fun to watch.

WOODRUFF: Well, not -- maybe not quite as much fun to clean up, but... HICKMAN: No, no.

WOODRUFF: ... a lot of fun to watch.

HICKMAN: Well, I have to tell you, though, you know, I'm a little bit envious because Laurin Sydney, I think, has been getting both of your attention. She's been giving you stuff all night, so I got you these. A couple of nice hats. I'll bring those back with me.

WOODRUFF: You better deliver on all this stuff, Fred.

HICKMAN: Oh, I'll take care of you. Don't worry about it. Glasses. The whole bit.

SHAW: Fred Hickman. And then he rested.

When we come back, more of our continuing live coverage, and this is how it looked in Las Vegas at the stroke of midnight and the year 2000.

(MILLENNIUM 2000 CELEBRATION IN LAS VEGAS)

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