Chat show star David Letterman reveals blackmail plot over affairs

US chat show host David Letterman made an extraordinary confession to a string of affairs on his top-rated TV show after an alleged two million dollar blackmail plot.

A TV worker had threatened to expose the Late Show host's affairs in a book and screenplay unless he was paid hush money, the married presenter claimed.



TV company CBS confirmed that an employee has been arrested over the alleged plot.



The 62-year-old presenter even went so far as to issue a fake two million dollar cheque during an investigation into the alleged plot and has given evidence to a grand jury.



Letterman left last night's studio audience baffled as he began relating his "bizarre experience", but laced his confession about his "creepy" affairs with gags.



His show's production company, Letterman, said he referred the matter to the Manhattan district attorney's office.



An investigation ended in the arrest and suspension of an employee of the TV show 48 Hours.



Letterman, who is married with a six-year-old son, began last night's broadcast of the Late Show by walking on stage and briefly leaning on a pillar with his back to the audience.



After a monologue with jokes about regular targets such as Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, he sat behind his desk.



He said he was glad the audience was in a pleasant mood "because I have a little story that I'd like to tell you and the home viewers as well".



Three weeks ago, Letterman said he got in his car early in the morning and found a package with a letter saying: "I know that you do some terrible, terrible things and that I can prove you do some terrible things."



He said the letter contained proof.



Letterman's lawyer set up a meeting with the man, who threatened to write a screenplay and a book unless he was paid off.



Two further meetings resulted in the fake cheque being delivered. Letterman said he testified to a grand jury yesterday.



"I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family," he said.



"I felt menaced by this and I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I had done."



He added: "The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.



"My response to that is yes, I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Yes, it would, especially for the women.



"It's been a very bizarre experience," he said.



"I felt like I needed to protect these people. I need to protect my family. I need to protect myself. Hope to protect my job."



But Letterman also made light of the situation: "I know what you're saying ... I'll be darned, Dave had sex."



He and long-time girlfriend Regina Lasko married in March, although they had been together since 1986. Their son Harry was born in November 2003.



It is the second embarrassment for Letterman in recent months.



In June, he apologised to Sarah Palin for making a crude joke about the former Republican vice-presidential candidate's 14-year-old daughter.



Although there was a small "fire Letterman" demonstration outside his studio later, CBS stood by its late-night star.



After nearly 15 years in second place to NBC's Jay Leno in the ratings, Letterman took over the top spot this summer.



Letterman was the victim of a 2005 plot by a former painter on his Montana ranch to kidnap his nanny and son for a five million dollar ransom.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape