Thursday, October 8, 2009

David Letterman: His alleged extortionist "lived on the edge"

The New York Times this morning ran a profile of alleged David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman, featuring quotes from people who have worked with him over the years. Colleagues described him as "a big personality with a penchant for running to the hottest news spots — the Falkland Islands, Bosnia and Somalia."

“He lived on the edge,” said one former co-worker, who asked not to be identified. Several colleagues confirmed that Halderman "was in apparent financial trouble, partly because of obligations from a divorce and child-support payments."

His lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel, "continued to argue on Wednesday that Mr. Letterman’s behavior and credibility would be relevant issues in the case, repeating, as he has in several media outlets, that Mr. Letterman sexually harassed his staff members."

"Asked about the accusation that he seemed to be trying to muddy Mr. Letterman’s reputation, Mr. Shargel said: 'This is not a parlor game. My client is facing 15 years in jail. If Letterman gets muddied up, so be it.'" blogger Josef Adalian surveyed 10 TV critics to ask them where "Davegate" goes from here. Most of them seem to feel Dave will be able to ride it out, despite the fact that the tabloids obviously love the story. "As long as he continues to make himself the butt of any jokes he tells in this ongoing 'What kind of jerk am I?' narrative, that's what his fans expect, and they'll no doubt eat it up," says TV Guide's Matt Roush. "The tricky part is how to continue without either belaboring the issue or altogether ignoring it.

"It could be worse. We could be hammering the show for being a complete waste of time. Letterman can at least rest easy that he isn't stuck in a dead-end cocoon of horror (one of my fave quotes from 'Glee' this season) ... like 'The Jay Leno Show.'" Ouch!

Madison Avenue, meanwhile, seems unperturbed by the scandal, according to a New York Times article. “For most advertisers in late-night, it’s not an intolerable situation,” said one media exec. “He handled it very deftly,” said another, referring to Letterman’s remarks on Thursday’s show, and often “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

In ratings news, Dave continues to be #1 in late night, with an average of 4.43 million viewers tuning in to each episode last week. "Late Show" "topped 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' in viewers and adults 25-54 for the second consecutive week," says CBS. Letterman "beat 'The Tonight Show' in households by +68% (vs. 1.9/05), viewers by +66% (vs. 2.67m) and adults 25-54 by +17% (vs. 1.2/05)." Good news for Craig Ferguson, too -- his "Late Late Show" scored an average of 1.94 million viewers per episode, which "beat 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' in households (vs. 1.1/04, +36%), viewers (vs. 1.43m, +36%) and tied in both adults 25-54 and adults 18-49."


  1. Anonymous said...

    If Halderman's in financial trouble, how can he afford to hire a high-profile attorney like Shargel? Speaking of whom, according to something I read elsewhere, he may not really believe his client is innocent but is making noise about putting Letterman through the grinder on the witness stand in order to scare Letterman into asking the Manhattan D.A. to plea-bargain the case.

  2. Anonymous said...

    I just read the “Inside CBS, Disbelief at an Arrest” article in the Times and I laughed at this quote about Halderman: “I was his boss, of course, but he never put the moves on me.” Lady, did it occur to you that may have been because he didn't find you attractive?

  3. Talk Show News said...

    To anonymous #1, there never seems to be a difficulty in attracting a lawyer to a high profile case. You can get your face all over the media and thus help increase your client base. Here is some more info on Shargel, who is best known for defending several of the Gottis.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Well, I hope that even if the damned lawyer muddies up Daves name all he wants, the CRIME his client commited will still bring him the justice he deserves.


  5. Anonymous said...

    I wouldn't worry about Dave's reputation too much. We are now more than a week into Davegate and not a single woman has come forward to claim Dave sexually harassed her. In fact some former interns have come forward to talk about what a great boss Dave is. Read it for yourself here:

    The fact that this Shargel guy was willing to represent the Gottis kinda erodes his credibility too.