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CBS Keeps David Letterman Extortion Segment Off YouTube

If you missed David Letterman's extraordinary explanation of the alleged extortion plot against him, you may never see it. CBS is keeping the clip off of YouTube and other Internet sites.

Letterman spent ten minutes of his show last Thursday talking about the case. He explained how he found a package in his car containing a threat to write a screenplay about the talk show host's dalliances with female staffers, unless Letterman paid him two million dollars. And he said when he testified before a grand jury, he admitted to the relationships.

The clip quickly made its way onto YouTube and other sites. But CBS was just as quick to flag them for removal, citing copyright infringement. And CBS, which provides official clips from many of its shows, has not provided this one.

“It’s incredibly odd to see CBS sitting on viral gold like that, especially when you consider how they spew out dozens of official clips a day,” David Burch, a marketing director at TubeMogul, which tracks online viewership of videos told The New York Times.

CBS’s decision to withhold the clips was prompted by a request from producers at Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, a person with knowledge of the decision told the Times. CBS would not comment on the issue.

The network has, however, allowed clips to be used that feature Stephanie Birkitt, a former staffer who allegedly had a relationship with Letterman. Birkitt also used to date CBS News producer Robert Halderman, who is charged with the extortion plot. Halderman was released on bail on Friday.

During the segment, the notoriously private Letterman said, "I don’t plan to say much more about this on this particular topic." Indeed, he didn't mention it on Friday. But guest Larry David, star of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," alluded to it.

“I’ve probably broken a record for the least amount of sex for a person who has their own television show,” David said to Letterman, adding, “I probably broke yours.”

Letterman laughed sheepishly as the audience clapped. “I don’t know,” he said. “Oh, buddy.”


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