Just when the Mackenzie Phillips "I-had-sex-with-my-father" story was beginning to cool off we've been hit with another spate of cringe-worthy entertainment news.
First it was Roman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland, which brought back up all the sordid details of his 1977 rape case involving a 13-year-old girl. To read her original grand jury testimony is beyond disturbing. Regardless of whether you think the famed director should be extradited to the U.S. or left alone due to his age, etc., what he is accused of doing is absolutely shocking.
Then last night David Letterman dropped his sex and extortion bombshell on "The Late Show". He acknowledged having affairs with female staffers, information a CBS employee allegedly threatened to bring to light unless Letterman paid him off.
Now, Americans love a sex scandal. Washington has provided plenty of them (courtesy of senators John Ensign, David Vitter, former senators John Edwards and Larry Craig, oh and former Pres. Clinton, to name but a few). Maybe Hollywood is just playing catch up.
But enough already! It's time to take down the dirty laundry before disgust turns into nausea and nausea turns into... well, something really difficult to clean up.
I have to say that I am disappointed in David Letterman. I’ve always liked the guy; he seemed like a sweet man, devoted to his son and his girlfriend of over 20 years, Regina. I am not a devoted viewer—most of us in the world of broadcast news work crazy hours—but I certainly don’t harbor any ill will towards the man. That being said, when I got the first of many, many emails last night about this scandal, I was disappointed. How could a man who was so well respected and beloved by so many put himself in this situation?
While I am sure it wasn’t fun for Letterman to get to his car at six o’clock in the morning and find a package from an alleged extortionist, I can’t help but feel that Letterman had this coming. This is a man who admitted to having sexual relationships with staffers on his show—staffers; as in more than just one. A spokesperson for Worldwide Pants, “The Late Show’s” production company, released a statement clarifying the timeline of the relationships. "All the relationships David Letterman was referencing when discussing the matter on the Late Show predated his marriage to Regina." Now let me tell you from experience—I’ve been doing this for a while now—statements don’t get more carefully worded than this. They made a point out of saying that Letterman didn’t cheat on his wife—but what, it’s ok to cheat on your girlfriend? Because that is certainly what it looks like.
It would be bad enough if it was just one indiscretion, but clearly there was more than just one—all with staff members. This enters into an ambiguously gray area for most work places, least of which is a celebrity talk show environment! Doctors and nurses, principles and teachers, politicians and staffers, the list of possibly risqué office dalliances go on and on. In most offices he would be sitting in human resources in right now trying to figure out what to do about the situation. Instead he made jokes about how it’s funny that people even want to have sex with him!
We all know that office gossip spreads like wildfire; Letterman should have known that there was no way he could have kept his liaisons a secret for long.
What do you think? What bothers you the most about the Letterman scandal—is it the fact that he had a relationship with his staffers? Is it the fact that he may have been unfaithful?
Last week, a "Find The Good" reader tipped me to the Alzheimer's Association "Who Wears Purple Best?" campaign, to raise awareness of the disease's growing prevalence. Eight celebrity "Alzheimer's Champions" competed, but when the winner was announced today, it was no competition: Soleil Moon Frye took the title with more than 51% of votes cast. Terrell Owens of the NFL's Buffalo Bills was second, followed by "Frasier" funnyman and longtime Alzheimer's activist David Hyde Pierce, Seth Rogen, Bradley Cooper, Melina Kanakaredes, Natalie Morales, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
One person develops this devastating disease every 70 seconds. Kudos to Frye and the other celebs for helping spread the word.
My name is James, and I'm a game show junkie. I've appeared on three game shows (and counting), and I've auditioned for at least a dozen more.
My mother once joked that my first complete sentence was "I'll take George Gobel to block."
I spent many childhood summers watching the daytime network game shows that filled my brain with knowledge, luck and skill. I thought of emcees like Dick Clark and Peter Tomarken as Santa Clauses for adults - stuffing their stockings with cash and fabulous prizes.
Those days are pretty much long gone. Outside of "The Price of Right" on CBS, the networks gave up on game shows as a daytime programming strategy years ago. NBC's last effort was "Caesar's Challenge" in 1994, while an early 90s revival of "Match Game" was ABC's final attempt at daytime games.
But could CBS be turning the tide when it comes to the genre?
CBS is replacing its long-running soap "Guiding Light" with a revival of the classic game show "Let's Make a Deal." You may remember that show - host Monty Hall offering trades and making deals to costumed contestants. Some trades could be successful (cars, trips, cash), while others end in failure (the dreaded "Zonk" - usually gag prizes of little value).
The costumed contestants are back for the revived "Deal", but the new "big dealer" is entertainer Wayne Brady (Hall, now 88, is a consultant for this version). In addition, the new "Deal" is taping at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, making the show an intriguing attraction for tourists on a budget and looking for a different game of chance.
With daytime soaps on the decline across the board, there's no doubt that CBS and the other networks are looking at "Deal" as a possible sign of things to come. If "Deal" can match or succeed what "Guiding Light" did in the ratings, the networks could turn to other lower-cost game shows as an alternative to more expensive sudsers.
Will you be watching the new "Let's Make a Deal" when it premieres on October 5? And what classic game shows would you like to see the networks revive?
Barbra Streisand releases first studio album in four years. And Jaime Foxx and Robert Downey team up in a Disney movie called "Due Date." Find out more in The Buzz:
As Dave would say, "My oh my!" Who saw this coming? Forget the extortion business for just one moment, and the person behind it. I think what's truly surprising to those of us who've been watching Letterman since his "Late Night" days at NBC is the following thought: "Dave had affairs with his female employees? Dave?" For years, he's awkwardly flirted with the many "fetching" leading ladies he's had on the show. Julia Roberts comes to mind. And who can forget when Drew Barrymore stood on his desk and flashed her breasts at him?? A shy-around-the-gals fella from the Midwest - at least, that's what I thought. And after his marriage and the birth of young Harry, I thought he was really out of "the game."
Has this changed your opinion of Dave? Do you think less of him - or more - due to his liaisons? Did he score any points with you for coming clean about all this? Or do you care more about the quality of his show than his extracurricular activities?
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