As a writer, producer, and executive, Rob Burnett has worked for and with (well, okay, given the flow of money: mostly “for”) David Letterman since “Late Night”‘s early days, as a series of YouTube videos of Dave’s cats wearing adorable things on their heads. Recently, he did a Q&A on Reddit that’s very much worth reading.
My favorite quote, in which he talks about dealing with difficult guests and people:
Occasionally a publicist might get aggressive. I’ll leave the names out because we have to work with these people, but once I remember a publicist threatening to pull a guest because he/she/it didn’t like the way we had formatted the show. Specifically, the order of the guests. I politely told he/she/it that they couldn’t tell us how to format our show, much as I would never tell he/she/it how to producer their movie/album/book.
The publicist turned to his/her/its assistant publicist and said, “Call Jay and see if he has an opening.” At which point I turned to our talent booker and said, “Call Tom Brokaw and see if he’s available for tonight.”