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Dave Letterman Cracks Up Late Night Rivals

Viewers hoping for more riveting revelations about David Letterman's relations with female employees in the Friday edition of "Late Show" were disappointed - the broadcast had been taped the previous day.

On the other hand, Friday's show had been taped Thursday -- the same day Letterman had careened wildly between self-effacing humor and un-comic-like earnestness, as he told this wild, rambling tale about how a CBS News staffer had allegedly tried to blackmail him for $2 million over having had sex with staffers, as his studio audience struggled to figure out when to laugh, when to applaud, when to gasp - and mostly got it wrong.

That said, watching Friday show was more meta-ironic fun than it might have been otherwise, when guest Larry David suggested he beat Letterman's record for having the fewest number of dates for someone with a TV show, and Letterman simpered "oh, I don't know."

Because we knew that interview had actually been conducted the same day Dave had fessed up to his studio audience about dating staffers at his Worldwide Pants production company, the same day he had testified before a grand jury about the alleged extortion attempt, the same day suspended "48 Hours" journalist Robert Halderman had been arrested after cashing the bogus $2 million check.

Other talk shows, which had not taped their Friday shows in advance, wallowed in the story like pigs in mud:

"I was shocked that Letterman has been having affairs," Bill Maher said on HBO's "Real Time.

"I had no idea he was even running for office."

NBC's Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, discussed a book that lists more than 200 reasons why women have sex and "Letterman knows the top-10."

Pee yew!

"If you came here tonight for sex with a talk show host, you've got the wrong studio," joshed NBC's Jay Leno, who until recently was Letterman's late night timeslot rival and now hosts at 10 o'clock show.

"What's going on? First Conan [O'Brien] hit his head, and then somebody tries to extort money from Letterman. I'm so glad I'm out of late night!" Leno continued.

But NBC's new "The Tonight Show" host O'Brien, who, yes, had suffered a mild concussion on his show last week when he slipped and fell, did not rise to the bait Friday when guest Drew Carey sat down and immediately cracked, "Man, I would hate to be on opposite Letterman tonight with all that sex stuff going on - that's got to be tough!"

"No comment. So how are thing going with you?" O'Brien said tersely.

Also on Friday, in amongst all this levity, Halderman pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court when he was arraigned on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny.

The same day, Letterman's Worldwide Pants issued a statement saying the company has a written policy in its employee manual that covers harassment, and "Dave is not in violation of our policy and no one has ever raised a complaint against him." Even so, the company declined to provide a copy of that policy. That's funny.

Your Take: Do Letterman's affairs change how you feel about him?

By Lisa de Moraes  |  October 3, 2009; 5:32 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Are there editors nowadays? How many typos can YOU find in this article?!

Posted by: dargo1 | October 3, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

David Letterman should be fired. He is a dirty old man who has caused others much grief because of his filthy comments and he has been doing his staff all along. No wonder he appears as a dirty minded, angry old man, without family values. His comments about protecting his family are ludicrous. Fire David Letterman.

Posted by: habelclan | October 3, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Fire someone for being dirty minded, angry,and without family values? Now THAT's funny. Talk about bringing down the entire American economy. Certainly there would be no one working in my office any longer.

Posted by: lexes | October 3, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Here come the Palin-bots once again calling for Letterman's termination. He wasn't married until just recently and the relations were evidently consensual. Yeah, fire David for being a fornicator and vote for Palin in 2012 so she can resign by 2013 and can sign another ghost-writer book deal.

Posted by: Absolute_0-K | October 3, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

If the sex was consensual, it wasn't "harassment," no matter what the feminist PC police try to call it.

Posted by: swmuva | October 3, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

How corrupt is CBS? Stars sleeping with staff, top managers at CBS black-mailing co-workers, management trying to sweep it all under the rug. These back-stabbing, perverted, elites seem like characters straight from the plot of "I Claudius."

Why would anyone trust anything coming out of CBS or the main-stream media?

Posted by: pgr88 | October 3, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse


consensual is not relevant in determining whether an action is or is not sexual harassment--voluntariness is, looking at the totality of the circumstnaces. What there a quid pro quo, that is, was there a promise of higher visibility or better terms or conditions of employment if a subordinate slept with a supervisor (There appears to be at least one example...)

Harassment policy. Most interesting harassment policy. First, harassment policies are normally very straight forward. They state a zero tolerance for sexual harassment, they state the time periods to file a sexual harassment complaint, they state who a sexual harassment complanit may be filed with, and they state that all sexual harassment complaints will be promptly investigated. If they don't the policy is fairly useless under Supreme Court case authority (City of Boca Raton).

But we have a policy which somehow hasn't been released, and in which the company has declared in advance of an investigation (controlled by the alleged instigator of the harassment) that the boss had not committed any harassment. This would first make current employees very reluctant to make complaints. They would have reasonable fears of reprisal. Second, is it a real harassment policy under Supreme Court guidance? Sometimes the best answer is quiet. Show us the policy, and the question may be answered.

Third, don't fire him for being a "fornicator", fire (terminate the contract with his company) him for being a Chief Executive Officer of a major company who,as a supervisor, put himself in a position of dominance over his subordinates and at least promoted one to an on-air position because she agreed to have sex with him. Sometimes matters do need to Court. Interesting to see the results.

Posted by: Paladin7b | October 3, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Consensual sex, when one of the parties is paid by the other, DEFINITELY qualifies as either sexual harassment or prostitution.

It is the oldest profession.

Posted by: postfan1 | October 3, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The money wasn't for SEX. It's for their JOB. God! People have their heads so far up their asses, no wonder Palin's book is on the best-seller list.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | October 3, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

At least get your facts right. Letterman tapes his Friday show on Monday, not Thursday. So Larry David's comments came long before anyone knew about Letterman being blackmailed.

Posted by: BartSimpson1 | October 3, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

To all those that have stated that one particular staffer was promoted to an on air position because she had a relationship with Dave, I'm not sure you have the facts to prove that. We don't know the timeline of events. Regardless, as an avid watcher of the Late Show I can tell you that this particular staffer was very good on air. To say it was only because she slept with Dave when you have no facts to support this allegation is demeaning to her and her talent.

Posted by: cmontgo | October 3, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin was right. Letterman is a creep and a molester who takes advantage of subordinates. Shame on everybody in the audience who laughed at this narration. Nitwits and idiots.

These staffers he had sex with have fathers. It's time one of the fathers scared him into having a heart attack.

Letterman should be fired.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | October 3, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Any time you find yourself thinking something like "Sarah Palin was right," think again. Chances are, you're dreadfully wrong.

Posted by: BartSimpson1 | October 3, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

What if Letterman, feeling trapped in a loveless marriage, and saddled with a six-year momma's boy, decided to look up this old conquest to resume - stalk her if you will.

He finds out she's hooked up with this guy and tries to buy her back from the guy for 2 million dollars.

Since the guy is in financial straights, he accepts and kicks the girl out of his house for the promised payoff.

Letterman sets him up with extorsion ruse and Letterman now comes off as playing the victim with a chance of getting the girl back as a "hero".

Not saying it's true, but yah never know until you subpoena the phone records of the three and their hard-drives to get the real story.

CBS should drop Letterman's business, though, no matter what. He's a workplace sexual predator, in my book.

The other guy can sue CBS.

Posted by: lockmallup | October 3, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

He attacks others for the same behavior. How many interns did he do? Dating the same women since 1986 and just recently getting married I can now see why. Blasts Palin's daughter while all along he is doing someone other than the one he lives with. What a smuck. ya he is the victim or so he wants you to think. I hope one of these women go after him for a workplace sex discrimination suit. But I am shure he has been paying them off all along.

Posted by: Wisconsin1 | October 3, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Even on TV, just by his acting, I could tell that he is little freaky. Why, because he always tried to make a sex talk and comments so normal and O.K.; yeah its O.K., but this guy would always go extra mile or extra couple of miles and he would not stop stareing and licking his lips when he has female guest. His behaving was almost like; "OH GOD, WHAT WOULD I DO TO HER IF I COULD JUST HAVE HER IN MY BED", you can tell that on his face!
I guess it got caught up with him or other people got fed up with him, which of course, we don't get to see because he makes money for the huge TV network. I would say this is actualy good thing; Freaks will not dare to control themselves by asking for sex favors and others won't dare to blackmail people and make money out of somebody's very personal action that didn't hurt anybody.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | October 5, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin was right?

Posted by: jbanks979 | October 6, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

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