Saturday, December 3, 2005


Congratulations to Dave Letterman, for snagging his rightful share of the ratings Thursday night. It was the largest estimated audience 'Late Show' has had since he reunited Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the Olympics, apparently. And it only took a force of nature to be captured and brought into the studio....

After 16 years, Ms. Winfrey finally agreed to come back and visit Letterman on his turf. She had not occupied the guest chair since he was hosting 'Late Night' over at NBC back in 1989. It had been an uncomfortable experience for her and she figured she never had to go through that again.

And she was right. I mean, she is Oprah.

And when she finally did deign to come back, it was on her terms, because she was the one who wanted the summit meeting more. After all, she was producing the brand new musical version of 'The Color Purple' right across the street from the Ed Sullivan Theater, so why not gain it some exceptional publicity? (Especially since the critics were not going to be too kind to the production!)

It was an incredible night of TV before and after the interview. Daves' jokes were spot-on about what a shmuck he had been in all the years leading up to this moment; and his seemingly genuine shock at the use of timpani to herald her entrance ("You scared the crap out of me!") was hysterical.

They had Tony Danza in the wings, waiting to go on in case Dave could not complete his duties as host, the night was that important to CBS. And the Top Ten list (phone messages left on Oprah's answering machine) was great. (It would have been even better if they had been fake recording of the actual people leaving the messages.)

Best of all was the faux promo for the show, which would be broadcast right after the CBS Special Report: "Hell Freezes Over".

And after the interview, Dave personally escorted Oprah through the theater and then outside to get her across the street in time for the night's opening performance of 'The Color Purple'; one of those special moments that make it fun to be in New York City - even if you weren't in that exact vicinity.

It's just a shame that the interview didn't have that same oomph. It's not like I was looking for Dave to "rip her one" as some jerk in the audience shouted out 16 years before. I'm just surprised he found time to have on Bonnie Raitt as a guest when he could have used that time to fully kiss Oprah's ass. (That baby's got back, ya dig?)

Still, Oprah was cool, calm, and collected, and an expert in spinning the legend of their "feud" her way. ("Feud? What feud?") And the interview's highlight was the autographed photo she gave Dave, which showed Oprah and Uma - I mean, Uma and Oprah, - in order to rub Dave's nose in the biggest gaffed of his entertainment career. (His appearance in "Cabin Boy" pales in comparison.)

Has he ever been on her show? I'm not sure if there'll be any tit for tat, but Dave better bring plenty of tat if he has any hope of balancing off what she brings to the game with the latter.......


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