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Baby talk boosts Letterman's ratings. The "Late Show" host discovers that fatherhood means big ratings

It may be time for Jay and Mavis Leno to start getting frisky. Since David Letterman, 56, became a daddy last week with his girlfriend Regina Lasko, the host has been enjoying a record ratings boost. Last week ''Late Show with David Letterman'' enjoyed its best numbers since the week of Feb. 21-25, 2000, when the star returned to work following heart surgery.

Fans may have tuned in to see if fatherhood had made Letterman soft. No such luck: After a poignant moment explaining how baby Harry Joseph was named after his own father, who died at 57, the host has simply incorporated fatherhood into his usual snarky act. He's joked that ''first thing I took him home and dangled him over the balcony'' and read off a top-10 list of why he was excited to be a father (No. 1: ''There is now tangible evidence that I have had sex.'').

Unfortunately, the new arrival didn't work the ultimate ratings miracle. While Letterman closed the gap between himself and Leno to just six-tenths of a ratings point, ''The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'' still reigned supreme. And if the childless Leno starts talking nappies, baby Harry may need to take up tap dancing.

Originally posted Nov 12, 2003