‘Late Night’ Check Out

HOLLYWOOD, May 26, 2000 – Hail to the pursuit of personal glory, individual fortunate and those precariously illusive (they hope) “other opportunities.” The latest to enter the arena: Andy Richter, funny man-sidekick extraordinaire on the early a.m. talker “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” (12:35 a.m. EDT/PDT, NBC). Tonight, he departs the show after seven years.

Stand-up comic by trade, talk-show couchman by default, Richter made known his intentions to leave last August, citing his interests to act.

As of now, host Conan O’Brien has yet to express any intentions to fill the role left vacant by his erstwhile co-host. And as for Richter, his first post-“Late Night” gig will be in Robert Altman‘s upcoming flick “Dr. T & The Women,” where he plays a friend to Richard Gere‘s character.

Here’s a roundup of some of the other TV personalities who have left (or will be leaving) their respective shows this season, and what they have (or will be) doing.

Who: Julianna Margulies Departed: “ER,” after six seasons as Nurse Hathaway. Why: She wants to return to New York, the Broadway stage, and to try her hands at indie films. What’s next: Last that we heard, Margulies is in talks to star with Jason Robards in a Broadway play about a reclusive painter.

Who: Kathie Lee Gifford Departing: “Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee” after 11 splendid years this July. Why: She wants to devote more time to her kids and a Broadway career. What’s next: Since her announcement February, Kathie Lee has been hitting the talk-show circuit to promote her life, her philosophy, and her new album. Last Monday, she was seen holding down the fort for Larry King while he was on paternity leave.

Who: Andrea Thompson Departed: “NYPD Blue,” after four seasons as Detective Jill Kirkendall. Why: Leaving behind a life of make-believe drama to cover real drama as a TV news anchor. What’s next: Thompson started her first news gig this week in Albuquerque, NM.

Who: Michael J. Fox Departed: “Spin City,” after four seasons as New York deputy mayor Mike Flaherty. Why: Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1998, Fox plans to spent his post-Hollywood time finding a cure for the degenerative disease. What’s next: Among other things, Fox has established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research (www.michaeljfox.org).