Ex-Letterman writer dishes about former boss in 'Vanity Fair'

A former writer at NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman has written an article in Vanity Fair that dishes about the “hostile, sexually charged atmosphere” at the show. The article, written by longtime Vanity Fair contributor Nell Scovell, contains a broad discussion of late-night talk shows and argues that they need to diversify their writers’ rooms to include more women. Scovell’s piece also describes Letterman’s show as having a boy’s club atmosphere created by the host and his staff, and discusses her tenure on the show.

A rep for Worldwide Pants, Letterman’s production company, had no comment at this time.

“Without naming names or digging up decades-old dirt, let’s address the pertinent questions,” Scovell wrote in the article. “Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes.”

Scovell’s article can be read in its entirety here.


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  • couchgrouch

    the writer just described every workplace in America including the space shuttle. BFD.

    • Harry Peters

      The space shuttle isn’t “in America” when it’s in space. Get your facts straight before you go posting in these fine esteemed forums.

  • Greatorange

    Wants more women writers in late night, but she quit when she was given the opportunity. How are women supposed to break through if those that get in quit? Make an effort to change the atmosphere when you have the opportunity. Writing an article three years after the fact does not do anyone justice. You just come off as bitter!

  • Zach

    Yeah,that’s pretty much every workplace environment I’ve been in. The sad thing is from what I noticed in every place I’ve worked is that women don’t mind being hit on or being paid extra attention as long as it benefits them or they have a crush on their boss. But I’ve also noticed that as soon as it’s no longer a benefit to them, all of the sudden they have a problem with the boss flirting with them or paying them extra attention. Sorry, I don’t feel sorry for you if it’s ok when you’re getting something out of it, but not when you’re not. I’d respect you a lot more if you said no or complained about it the first time.

  • Maureen

    I was a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live. And while late night is definitely a boys’ bastion, I think it has more to do with the long hours that most women with families can’t deal with, more than any type of overt discrimination. Late night humor is slanted more toward guys then women, so it helps to be able to write with that POV. But if the world is judged by Jimmy’s standards, it’s more open to women than the numbers would suggest.

    • Angel

      A writer should know the difference between “then” and “than.”

  • Bud Melman’s Grave

    so what if dave dipped his pen in company ink. the ink should be so lucky!

  • Chappel

    Where is Larry Sanders when you really need him?

  • Dan

    I can’t imagine the writers room for a show like Grey’s Anatomy, which is dominated by women is any less sexual in nature. But we don’t hear a lot of complaints about that show.

    • jenna

      Well except for all that gay-bashing, physical-assault stuff we heard about

  • Kaye

    Whoa, talk about bitter — read these comments! It doesn’t help to say “oh well, that’s always the case.” And don’t speak for all women please, when you say that we love the attention when it helps our careers. We NEVER like creeps, OK? If this was happening to your wife or daughter (or mom!) then maybe you’d think a little differently about this and I challenge you to do so.

  • Harry Peters

    Everything went downhill when we let women work and vote. They shouldn’t be allowed to learn to read, and foot bindings should make a comeback.

  • ia

    I’m all for an equal amount of female & male writers on comedy & drama programs. But when a female does break into a good ol’ boys network on TV (ie. Katie Courac as news anchor), why is there such a backlash??? Diane Sawyer will be taking over Charlie Gibson’s spot on ABC’s evening news and STILL articles are written about “the cat-fight” that will ensue between Couric & Sawyer. Why is this the story?
    Women haven’t been given any fair deals in the workplace because of all stupid “cat-fight” innuendos. What’s up with that? And look what happened to Joan Rivers when she decided to strike out on her own to be a late night talk-show host? And Lorne Michaels has only had a handful of female writers on SNL in its 35 yr. history. And there still aren’t too many prime-time female sports announcers (maybe none). TV is as much a good ‘ol boys network as the Hollywood film industry and American politics. The raw deal is always thrown at women in this country of ours when it comes to the workplace. I think it’s time for a CHANGE!!!

  • Harry Peters

    Powerful men should be allowed to have the women of their choosing. Nice work, Dave, wish I could be so lucky.

    • Coyote

      Come on, use your real name: Hairless Peters

  • celia

    I hate to sound like I’m even on the same planet as H. Peters, but this writer really does come off as a bitter ex-staffer who couldn’t handle the heat and is trying to exploit recent events to get her fifteen minutes.

  • Sara

    That piece was ridiculous. This woman just applied for another job at Late Night months ago, and she’s angry she didn’t get it. No one in the office was harassed. She left the job because she had an offer for “Coach” and she couldn’t handle New York. And what she’s asking at this point–for Dave to hire a bunch of women writers– oh, sure, that’s EXACTLY what he wants to do after being blackmailed for having relations with a woman! Hire a full team of female writers, that’ll look good!

  • Jean Guy Levesque

    Dave lettermen is so old and ugly without makeup. Let’s be honest, the women he boned wanted his money. Vive la Quebec!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • lea

      Ugly amen. That’s why a lot of these guys go for the power positions. Nerdy losers who’d never get la-d if they didn’t have money and a title.

  • Dan

    Big f’n deal, this broad wants attention and money so she’s trashing Dave. She should crawl back under her rock.

    • bc3

      And maybe yoiu should crawl back into your cave.

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