Most of us were very surprised to see Jay Leno join Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman in a Super Bowl ad for Letterman's "Late Show." To find out how everything came together, Entertainment Weekly caught up with the show's producer Rob Burnett.
"The 10 seconds we did with Dave and Oprah for the Super Bowl in 2007 went pretty well and CBS came back and said we got 10 seconds again for this one," Burnett said. "We were banging heads together. How do we come close to topping the last one? Then Dave got this idea. My first call was to Oprah – she got it right away – and then I called [CBS Corp. Chairman] Les Moonves to make sure he was OK with Jay being on CBS. And then I called [Leno's executive producer] Debbie Vickers, who said: 'Dave and Jay, in the same room?' She laughed for a good minute and said Jay would want to call. I hung up, and two minutes later it was Jay. He said 'This is the way show business should be.' Debbie then cleared it with NBC Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin and NBC-Universal CEO Jeff Zucker."
He added that the goal was for the ad to be a surprise. "We began having logistical meetings that would make the CIA proud. NBC arranged to have Jay fly on the NBC jet at 7:30 in morning on February 2nd and he was at the Teterboro Airport [in New Jersey] at 3:30pm. We snuck him through the front door on Broadway. Jay wore a disguise, a hooded sweatshirt, dark sunglasses and a mustache. Fifteen minutes later, Oprah arrived, but not in a disguise. We shot it in the balcony of the Ed Sullivan Theater."
Regarding the behavior of the stars, Burnett said that everything was professional and cordial. "We shot it in 25 minutes, and it went really, really well. It felt like one of those things where you wake up and say, 'I had the strangest dream.'"