Letterman finally gets Oprah Winfrey to return

Daytime talk queen Oprah Winfrey will appear as a guest on David Letterman's late-night CBS show next month, sealing a long, gradual thaw in the once-testy relations between two of television's biggest stars.

Winfrey's visit to the CBS Late Show with David Letterman is set for December 1, the same night as the red-carpet premiere of the Broadway musical production of The Color Purple, which she is producing.

Letterman has pressed Winfrey to join him on the air since Time magazine quoted her in 2003 vowing never to go on his show again. She had said two guest stints on the old NBC Late Night with David Letterman show during the 1980s left her feeling "like the butt of his jokes."

At one point, Letterman even jokingly suggested that he and Winfrey could patch up their differences in a "Super Bowl of Love" officiated by self-help guru Dr. Phil McGraw, who himself took a lot of ribbing from Letterman until becoming one of the most popular Late Show guests.

Winfrey finally turned the tables on Letterman in December 2003 by inviting him to appear on her top-rated nationally syndicated daytime show, an offer he acknowledged on his program--"Oprah no longer hates me"--but never accepted.

A month earlier, Letterman revealed on his show that Winfrey had sent him a collection of children's books as a gift marking the birth of his son, Harry.

It took the prospect of promoting a Winfrey-produced Broadway musical on Letterman's New York-based show to bring the two TV personalities together again. The 1985 film version of The Color Purple was a milestone in Winfrey's career, earning her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

"What a big night that is going to be--not only for us, not only for Oprah, but for Broadway," Letterman said, announcing Winfrey's upcoming guest appearance during Monday's taping of his Manhattan-based show.

"Put bygones behind us," Letterman added, "the water under the bridge, over the dam, wherever water goes--standing in your basement--she's going to be here on this show and it's going to be fantastic."

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