Don’t look for any formal primetime party marking David Letterman’s 10th anniversary on CBS.
Eye has quietly dropped plans for a February sweeps salute to Dave, whose official CBS birthday was back in August. Per Letterman’s wishes, CBS had opted to save the celebration for next month (Daily Variety, Aug. 29, 2003).
Now, however, comes word that there won’t be a primetime spec after all. Once again, insiders said, the reason is that Letterman prefers to keep things low-key.
Decision to scrap the spec came before Letterman gave it good to Eye brass during Monday night’s show after discovering that archrival NBC latenight host Jay Leno — and not him — had been touted on the net’s Web site in connection with the People’s Choice Awards. This, even though Letterman had himself been nominated in the category of best talkshow.
“I want a call from someone at CBS,” Dave ranted, mostly in jest. “I don’t want a stooge calling me. I want, like, a big deal person, a high-powered person to call me up. Apologize, beg for my forgiveness and pretend that you fired the person responsible.”
No sooner had Letterman finished his rant — which, by the way, included a sizable dose of Letterman’s Leno impersonation — than he received a call on the set from a contrite CBS chair-CEO Leslie Moonves, who was quickly patched in for all to hear.
“I can’t tell you how sorry I am and everyone at CBS at the indiscretion on our Web site,” Moonves said, playfully adding that he had personally taken care of the problem by killing the Web site altogether and firing everyone involved.
With that, Letterman and Moonves — who have never been personal buddies — made a golf date. And, a CBS spokesman confirmed, nobody was actually canned.