Add NBC's "Saturday Night Live" to the shows making sport of David Letterman's difficulties. But in the hands of "SNL," Dave got off pretty easy.
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On Thursday, the "Late Show" host had acknowledged having sex with some of the women who worked for him, and told his viewers he was the victim of a blackmail attempt.
On "SNL," "Weekend Update" anchor Seth Meyers dubbed the extortion attempt by a CBS News producer "a stupid human trick."
Meyers added that the would-be blackmailer was threatening to reveal embarrassing details of Letterman's personal life, then gave a joking example: "After sex, he would always say, 'Stay tuned for Craig Ferguson.'"
Letterman's fellow TV hosts Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon are among comics who already had zinged him on their shows.
Leno kicked off his monologue Friday by declaring, "If you came here tonight for sex with a talk show host, you've got the wrong studio."
He continued, "The guy that was trying to blackmail Letterman was a producer for the show '48 Hours.' It could have been worse: At least he wasn't producer of 'To Catch a Predator.'"
Also on NBC, "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon had his own wisecrack: "There's a new book out called 'Why Women Have Sex' that says there are 237 reasons why women have sex. And folks, Letterman knows the top 10."
ABC's Jimmy Kimmel spared Letterman in his Friday monologue.
So did Conan O'Brien on NBC's "Tonight Show." He also dodged the issue when guest Drew Carey brought it up.
"I would hate to be on opposite Letterman tonight with all that sex stuff going on," Carey said. "That's got to be tough."
"No comment," O'Brien responded quickly.
Still to be heard from: Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert on "The Colbert Report." Both Comedy Central shows are dark on Fridays, but will be back with fresh episodes Monday.
So will CBS' Craig Ferguson, host of "The Late Late Show," whose Friday edition had been taped earlier in the week. On Monday, the comically outspoken Ferguson will be able to add his zingers. But there's a potentially delicate situation: Letterman's Worldwide Pants produces his show. That makes Letterman his boss.
Friday night's "Late Show" was taped in advance on Thursday, meaning Letterman won't be taping an episode after his revelation until at least Monday. But Friday's show did include a moment — coincidental in retrospect — when guest Larry David unwittingly suggested that he beat Letterman's record of having the fewest number of dates for someone with a TV show.
"Oh, I don't know," replied Letterman, grinning knowingly.
Accused lived with show staffer
Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, a producer for the true-crime show "48 Hours Mystery," pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court to one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny, punishable by five to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors said Halderman, who was released after posting $200,000 bail, was desperate and deep in debt.
Halderman's connection to Letterman was not immediately clear, but public records show that until August, he lived in Norwalk, Conn., with Stephanie Birkitt, a 34-year-old woman who works on the "Late Show" staff and used to work at "48 Hours."
Birkitt was an assistant to Letterman on the "Late Show" and frequently appeared on camera with the host in comedy bits. Last month, Birkitt moved to Manhattan. There was no answer Friday at a phone listed in her name.
Halderman wouldn't speak to reporters at his house Saturday morning and threatened to call police if they didn't leave the private road that leads to his modest three-bedroom house.
All the affairs took place before Letterman's marriage, said Tom Keaney, spokesman for Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants. Keaney also said Letterman "is not in violation" of the company's harassment policy "and no one has ever raised a complaint against him."
CBS issued a statement Friday: "We think it was appropriate for Dave to disclose the matter publicly as he has, and we are continuing to cooperate with authorities."
CBS would not address questions about whether Letterman faced any disciplinary actions for relationships with subordinates.
'Destroy the reputation'
Halderman gave the talk show host a package of materials that "contained clear, explicit and actual threats that indicate this defendant ... (wanted to) destroy the reputation of Mr. Letterman and to submit him and his family to humiliation and ridicule," Assistant District Attorney Judy Salwen said in court.
Halderman, hands cuffed behind his back, stared at the floor during most of Friday's court hearing and said only "not guilty."
His lawyer, Gerald Shargel, said Halderman worked at CBS for 27 years and had no prior criminal record. He described him as an involved father who coached soccer, baseball and football and has two children, ages 11 and 18.
"This story is far more complicated than what you heard this afternoon," Shargel said outside court, but he would not elaborate.
Halderman allegedly left an envelope in Letterman's car early Sept. 9. According to authorities, he wrote that he needed money and said Letterman's world would "collapse around him" if damaging information about him were made public.
Letterman acknowledged that the letter contained proof that the late-night host had sexual relationships with members of his staff.
Three meetings between Letterman's lawyer and Halderman subsequently took place, the last two with the lawyer recording the conversations and prosecutors listening in, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.
At the last meeting, on Wednesday, the lawyer gave Halderman a phony check for $2 million, Morgenthau said.
Halderman deposited the check Thursday and was arrested that day, he said.