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Details on how the David Letterman and Jay Leno Super Bowl ad happened

Truth rating: 10

By Michael Lewittes


It was just 15 seconds, but it was colossal.

We’re talking about the ad that ran during the Super Bowl for “Late Show with David Letterman,” featuring David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey… and Letterman’s nemesis Jay Leno.

The commercial begins with a tight shot of Letterman griping, “This is the worst Super Bowl party ever.”

The camera pulls back to reveal Oprah Winfrey, who tells Letterman, “Now, Dave, be nice.”

The camera then pulls out further and we see Jay Leno, who responds, “He’s just saying that because I’m here” to which Letterman mocks in a repeating whine, “He’s just saying that because I’m here.”

And that’s it.

Here’s how it all came about.

Though the ad was hatched by Letterman, and written by him, he did NOT personally call his rival about doing the commercial.

A few weeks ago “Late Show with David Letterman” executive producer Rob Burnett reached out to Leno’s executive producer Debbie Vickers, and astoundingly “NBC was onboard from the beginning,” says a CBS insider.

And the motivation for Letterman and Leno was nothing more than they both thought it would be funny.

The next step was Leno flying to the East Coast to film the ad inside Letterman’s studio last Tuesday, a night when “The Jay Leno Show” was off because of an extended episode of “The Biggest Loser.”

And even though the commercial plugged Letterman’s CBS show, Gossip Cop is told that NBC was so into the idea that the network flew Leno to New York on the NBC corporate jet.

As to how the two were when they faced each other after so many years of rivalry, a Letterman source says, they were “friendly, cordial and professional.”

But don’t count on that cordialness to last. The two talk show titans will fight each other for ratings, beginning March 1 when Leno returns to host “The Tonight Show.”

Now check out the video for this historic and hysterical commercial.

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