*No, that wasn’t special effects or CGI trickery that brought Oprah Winfrey together with late night rivals Jay Leno and David Letterman in a Super Bowl promo for Letterman’s “Late Show.”
“According to the talk show’s executive producer Rob Burnett, the spot was put together quickly. And on the down low.
The wheels were set in motion soon after CBS offered “Late Show” a promo slot during the Super Bowl.
“Dave had this idea, ‘What about getting Jay and Oprah together with me?’ and he wrote it,” Burnett explained to the Associated Press. “We said, ‘This is too funny to pass up.’ First we called Oprah.” Then Leno was approached, and he, too, signed on. That was two weeks ago.
Arrangements had to be made to get the Los Angeles-based Leno and the Chicago-based Winfrey to New York for filming — and do it without word getting out.
“Security was a big priority for us,” Burnett said. “We really wanted to keep this under wraps. There were a lot of internal logistical conversations about how to even get Jay and Oprah into our building secretly.”
The spot was filmed last Tuesday at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, home of “Late Show.” According to Burnett, Leno arrived in disguise: hooded sweatshirt, dark glasses and fake mustache. Filming took less than a half-hour, Burnett said.
“It was quick, it was easy,” he said. “The attitude was professional and cordial. Dave and Jay were fine with each other.”
For now. It may be a different story after the Winter Olympics, when Jay Leno returns as host of the “Tonight Show” and his ratings battle with Letterman resumes.