About 13.5 million people stayed up late to witness Oprah Winfrey use David Letterman to plug the opening of her new Broadway play, "The Color Purple," Thursday night.
On the other hand, David Letterman used Oprah Winfrey using David Letterman to snag his largest late-night audience in more than a decade and third-largest audience ever.
The Winfrey/Letterman Super Bowl of Love, marking her first appearance on Letterman's late-night show in 16 years, more than tripled his season-average audience of 4.3 million viewers.
Had it aired in prime time, Oprah's Shameless Color Purple Hawk-a-thon -- her dress sported a purple sash and ruffle, and she made Dave a gift of a purple picture frame wrapped in purple paper trimmed with purple ribbon -- would be one of this week's Top-20 shows.
Her appearance ranks as the fourth-most-watched broadcast ever of "Late Show," behind only its CBS premiere in 1993, and the two broadcasts that followed the women's figure skating semifinals and finals during the 1994 Winter Olympics, which featured the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding smackdown.
Surprisingly, Jay Leno's late-night show on NBC did not suffer; it was seen by 6.2 million people Thursday night, up from his season average of 5.8 million.
Based on preliminary figures, "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" following Winfrey's appearance logged that franchise's largest audience ever.
He has been a preacher, a political activist, a presidential candidate, guest host of "Saturday Night Live" and the host of a reality series, but the Rev. Al Sharpton finally may have found his niche.
Sharpton is signed to star in a possible CBS sitcom, the trade paper Variety reports.
CBS has given Paramount -- both owned by Viacom -- a script commitment for a half-hour series that would be semi-autobiographical and is currently called "Al in the Family." Once the script is written, CBS will decide whether it wants to spend the money to order a pilot to be shot.
"I am the center of a family with different social and political views, and we crack jokes and confront each other but are a family," Sharpton said of the sitcom in an interview with Reuters.
Peter Ackerman, whose credits include the flicks "Ice Age" and "Robots," is on board to write the pilot. Among the executive producers of the show is Jeffrey Kramer, who used to be the head of David E. Kelley's production company and who was executive producer on "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice."
Sharpton, a controversial guy for more than two decades, has been trying to get a regular TV gig going since being winnowed from the field of 2004 Democratic presidential candidates.
In the fall of 2004, Spike TV debuted a reality series, "I Hate My Job," in which he played life counselor to eight men who quit their jobs.
This past October, he debuted in "Sharp Talk With Al Sharpton," a half-hour talk show that takes place in Levels barbershop in Brooklyn. It runs on the cable network TV One, which targets African American viewers.