So America’s snarkiest talk show host has now become the butt of other host’s jokes. I guess turnabout is fair play.
David Letterman has had to admit he bedded down an unknown number of female staffers. He came clean largely because he was the target of an alleged $2 million dollar extortion scheme concocted by Robert “Joe” Halderman, a producer at CBS. He ought to win an award for dumbest scheme in the history of criminality (if convicted, of course). It ought to be real interesting to be a part of Letterman’s studio audience as he tapes two episodes of his program Monday here in New York.
After all, he did get out in front of this whole thing on his program last week. Smart move. Now speculation centers on just who he slept with, when, and whether all this will have a lasting impact on his show and career. Trust me, the morality (or lack of same), judgment, or even policy standards David Letterman may have violated probably won’t make much of a difference in the end.
It’s commerce, people. If CBS sees a sharp drop in advertising revenue on the Letterman show because of his actions, they’ll take action against him. Otherwise, they won’t. Rest assured lots of Americans will be watching over the next few nights to see how he handles himself. Higher ratings usually mean higher revenue, which is why the cynic in me says Letterman’s home free no matter how many staffers he had sex with.
I had an on air discussion about Letterman the other night, and the question was raised whether media coverage of this affair has been overly sympathetic to him. Voyeuristic might better describe it, but it’s a legitimate question to be asked. Is the media treating this as no big deal because some of the suits making the decisions may have nailed a few interns of their own? Don’t think for a minute Letterman is unique.
And don’t think his portrayal as a benevolent stud besieged by wenches who can’t help themselves is an accident either. Mind you, not all media is guilty of this. Still, I bet you opinion in lots of newsrooms is split sharply along gender lines. And of course, there’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
Did any of the staffers who slept with David Letterman receive promotions, perks, or other advantages over colleagues who didn’t hop in the sack with the boss? In case people have forgotten, that’s the main reason why these things are frowned on in the first place. Maybe the shoe on that one has yet to drop.
Still, don’t shed any tears for David Letterman. My guess is he moves right along, with minimal damage to his career or legacy. After all, they laughed and applauded last week when he revealed this stuff, didn’t they?
Or am I wrong. Is David Letterman in trouble? You tell me.