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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power