Letterman Show Without Anti-Obama 'Top Ten' to Re-Run Tonight

The Tuesday, July 29 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, during which the “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident” was produced, but then edited out from what aired for time -- yet accidentally posted with video for a day or so leading to charges, after the text and video were removed from the Late Show site, that CBS spiked the list -- will re-run tonight (Wednesday).

So tune in to see if the list is restored to the show (doubtful), or the show airs again as it did the first time (most likely). Letterman read the list for the studio audience immediately after the second ad break and just before guest Kevin Costner. As originally aired, the show went straight from the ad break to Letterman introducing Costner.

My August 6 NewsBusters item. “Non-Scandal: CBS/Late Show Did Not Spike Anti-Obama 'Top Ten,'” explained the allegations and the reality. I since updated that post with an image of the list as published in the August 11 e-mailed Late Show Newsletter: “From the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska...An Exclusive Un-Aired Top Ten List Edited from the 7/29/08 Broadcast: 'Top Ten Signs Barack Obama Is Overconfident.'” Image here is of the list in last week's newsletter. Go below the break to see a larger version.

As I explained in my earlier post:
The list, prepared for, and presented on, the Tuesday, July 29 show was, as happens many times each year, edited from the program because later interview segments with Kevin Costner and/or Bob Sarlatte ran long. The purpose of the Late Show site is to post highlights from the show and since Letterman's reading of it did not air on the program as broadcast on CBS the list should not have been posted. Yet it was put up, along with video of Letterman reading it (hence why there is [was] YouTube video of it that makes it appear the list did air on the show), by mistake. When that error was realized the list, and matching video, were removed -- as they should have been.

It is not unusual -- I'd guess about once a week -- for a “Top Ten” list which Letterman plugs as coming up after a commercial break to not air. Sometimes that's because he sees the final version of the list during the break and rejects it; other times he reads it but it is cut for time since killing it in post-production is a quick way to reduce the show length by 90 seconds to two minutes without having to chop up an interview session....

A Letterman staffer confirmed my assumption the list was cut for time, did not air and thus was taken down from the Web site per standard policy....National Review's Byron York posted this Tuesday on NRO's The Corner:
...I linked to the Top 10 list on the "Late Show" website, but not long after my item was posted, I got a number of emails telling me the list had disappeared from the site. The suspicion was that the "Late Show" had pulled the controversial item. I've been meaning to call CBS to find out, and today I finally got around to it.
A spokeswoman told me there was nothing unusual going on -- the list, she said, was never actually aired, having been cut from the July 29 program because the rest of the show was running over time. "It was edited out for time, and what happened was that the web guys put it up there before they got a list of the material that was edited out," the spokesman told me. Once the web guys got the word, the list was taken down, in the same way that previous Top 10 lists that had been cut for time reasons were taken off the site. But the spokesman assures me it will appear in an upcoming issue of the "Late Show" newsletter.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center