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David Letterman's workplace affairs: Internal investigation seems unlikely

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Despite press reports suggesting that further scrutiny may be needed, it appears unlikely at this time that Worldwide Pants and/or CBS will conduct an internal investigation following David Letterman’s televised revelation on Oct. 1 that he had affairs with female staff members. Press reports have indicated that the host had a relationship with former assistant Stephanie Birkitt, 34, and an employee in the 1990s who was one of his peers. A spokesman for Worldwide Pants (the production company that produces The Late Show for CBS) indicated to EW that, like most companies, it circulates an employee manual each year that addresses harassment, but there are no specific rules barring sexual relationships between supervisors and managers.  “Dave is not in violation of our policy and no one has ever raised a complaint against him,” the spokesman said.

CBS would not comment officially, but insiders say the network continues to support its late-night star, who personally made the decision to come clean about his workplace affairs. A source on the show said Letterman improvised most of his “do you feel like a little story?” segment last Thursday, which included some of his signature folksy humor but also featured sobering statements about the extortion attempt being “quite scary” and “terrifying” (48 Hours producer Robert “Joe” Halderman has been indicted for allegedly making the threats – he pled not guilty t0 the charges).  Worldwide Pants is not streaming Letterman’s now infamous revelation on CBS.com, though the company does not always put all his memorable clips online. Bootleg clips of Letterman’s revelation have been pulled from YouTube by CBS, citing copyright laws.

After a routine break on Friday, production on The Late Show resumes today. Tonight’s guests are Steve Martin and Lea Michele from the Fox drama Glee (there have been no changes in booking since Thursday’s episode, the spokesman said). Other guests for the week include Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse), Vince Vaughn, and musical performances by Kiss and Natalie Merchant.

Overall, the news from Nielsen has only been positive for Letterman in his battle with Conan O’Brien, the new host of The Tonight Show. Letterman won the first full week of the 2009-10 season in viewers and all key demos, his first such win since 2005.