By Joal Ryan
How does David Letterman top Courtney Love’s top-doffing act from Wednesday night? Book Janet Jackson.
The famed Super Bowl flasher will visit Letterman on March 29, the show announced Thursday. Presumably, only her soul will be bared.
The appearance will mark Jackson’s first TV interview since she experienced a nipple-shield-baring wardrobe malfunction during a performance with Justin Timberlake at Feb. 1’s Super Bowl halftime show.
In addition to Late Show with David Letterman, Jackson’s image rehab-slash-record promotional tour will take her to ABC’s Good Morning America (March 31) and the syndicated On Air with Ryan Seacrest (April 2).
For those Federal Communications Commissioners keeping score at home, the Letterman show will air, per usual, on tape delay; the GMA concert will air on a for-Janet-only, five-second delay; the Seacrest gig will air, per usual, on a seven-second delay. (On Air’s delay policy has been in effect since the show’s Jan. 13, pre-Super Bowl debut).
Jackson will sing on GMA and On Air. On Letterman, she’ll merely talk, by which we mean, of course, utter words in whispered tones. John Mayer is the night’s scheduled musical guest.
A CBS spokeswoman for Late Show said, as far as she knew, no restrictions have been placed on the Jackson interview.
Last month, CBS, which aired the Super Bowl, barred Jackson from appearing on its Grammys telecast when she refused to issue an in-show apology, a la Timberlake, for her role in the aforementioned nipple shield. (Prior to the Grammys, Jackson sought atonement in both written and videotaped statements.)
On Thursday, Jackson’s rep Stephen Huvane said he was unaware of any network demands for a mea culpa in return for the Letterman booking.
The Late Show appearance is particularly well timed for Jackson, coming one day before her new album, Damita Joe, is to hit stores.
“The album is already receiving a lot of buzz. Obviously some of that is fallout from [the Super Bowl],” says Jessica Green, executive editor of BET.com. “[But] the music is good.”
Green says she expects an uptick in sales for Damita Jo over Jackson’s last original release, 2001’s All for You. What’s she less sure about is how Jackson will act on the talk-show couch.
To Green, Jackson’s first, post-Super Bowl music video, “I Want You,” represents a retreat from the singer’s bustier-ripping ways, even ending on a sweet smooch with her “age-appropriate” boyfriend, producer Jermaine Dupree. “I wonder if the [TV] appearances will follow suit,” she says.
Perhaps only the producers manning the bleep-it buttons will know for sure..