Last night while watching the Super Bowl, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. It looked like there was a commercial for “The Late Show with David Letterman” that featured the host, alongside Oprah Winfrey and dare I say, Jay Leno? It wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t necessarily a nightmare, it was just weird. Over at EW, they sat down and interviewed Letterman’s producer and found out how they were able to pull off one of the most secretive Super Bowl ads in history.
Back in 2007 Letterman and Winfrey buried the axe when they participated in a Super Bowl ad that was similar to the one we saw last night. It was such a hit that “The Late Show” executive producer Rob Burnett, knew it would be nearly impossible to top it. Then Dave came up with the idea of getting Winfrey for a second time and bringing on another familiar but not so loved face. When Burnett called Leno’s producers to tell them about their idea they were confused, they stated, ‘Dave and Jay, in the same room?’
In the end Leno got on board as well as NBC Universal, which was followed by the hard part. How were they going to hide such an epic meeting from the press?
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 goes on to say that Leno and Letterman were very professional to one another,’ very cordial.’ They shot for only 25 minutes and it was in the can. It may seem odd that Letterman would invite his competition to join a commercial about his show, but Letterman’s mantra was ‘If it’s funny, we do it.’ Well, was it actually funny?
Here’s the Super Bowl ad that aired last night…
Do you think this ad was an attempt to help Leno’s image? What did you think about both of them sharing the screen?