In an interview posted last night, The Late Show executive producer Rob Burnett revealed how all parties worked together to keep the ad a secret from the press.
“…Dave got this idea. My first call was to Oprah – she got it right away – and then I called [CBS Corp. Chairman] Les Moonves to make sure he was OK with Jay being on CBS. I have to give Les credit … he got it immediately. And then I called [Leno’s executive producer] Debbie Vickers … who said, ‘Dave and Jay, in the same room?’ She laughed for a good minute and said Jay would want to call. I hung up, and two minutes later it was Jay. He said ‘This is the way show business should be.’ Debbie then cleared it with NBC Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin and NBC-Universal CEO Jeff Zucker.”
Regarding keeping the shoot a secret, Burnett compared meetings to the CIA.
“We had to figure out a way to keep it a surprise. NBC arranged to have Jay fly on the NBC jet at 7:30 in morning on Feb. 2 and he was at the Teterboro Airport [in New Jersey] at 3:30 p.m. We snuck him through the front door on Broadway. Jay wore a disguise …a hooded sweatshirt, dark sunglasses and a mustache. Fifteen minutes later, Oprah arrived … but not in a disguise. We shot it in the balcony of the Ed Sullivan Theater.”
Burnett said that the shoot was “professional,” “cordial,” and that there was “no frostiness.” This is especially interesting considering the personal attacks the two made on each other in the height of the Conan/Tonight Show scandal.
To read the entire interview, please click HERE
Tags: David Letterman, Jay Leno, oprah, Super Bowl