David Letterman Resorted to Extreme Measures to Land Jay Leno for His Super Bowl Gag
You think it's easy getting Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno, and David Letterman in a room together to tape a 15-second gag for the Super Bowl? Then you're wrong! This thing took private jets, corporate rescheduling, even espionage!
According to Bill Carter's Media Decoder blog today, Letterman came up with the idea for the promo himself and then his team pitched it to Oprah who agreed immediately (due to his studio's proximity to Mariella Pizza, her favorite slice in the city) but Leno had to clear it with NBC, rearranged the prime-time schedule so that he could have last Tuesday evening free to tape the spot, and borrow the corporate jet to fly to New York. It was done in the Ed Sullivan theater in Midtown, but Leno had to wear a hoodie, sunglasses and a mustache to get into the theater undetected. This is more cover than Valerie Plame ever got. Apparently the two men got on well and the filming took only 30 minutes then Oprah sprinkled crushed pepper from Mariella's on everyone and chanted some magic words and made them hug and all was forgiven. Well, for five minutes at least until Leno took off his disguise and Jeff Zucker screamed at him for racking up a huge bill while unsuccessfully trying to repair his image by filming a promo for a competing show. Oprah hugs aren't as powerful as they used to be.