NEWSMAKERS: David Letterman Heart Surgery!

Late-night TV host David Letterman underwent emergency multiple-bypass heart surgery in New York today, one day after revealing on his CBS program that he was to undergo tests to determine if he had arterial disease.

Letterman‘s prognosis for recovery was said to be excellent. CBS will air reruns of “The Late Show with David Letterman” until its titular host returns.

Dave has the heart muscle of a 20-year-old,” Letterman surgeon Dr. O. Wayne Isom told reporters following the surgery.

Still, it appears the entertainer also had blocked arteries. Some reports said Letterman underwent a quintuple bypass.

The comic was at work as late as Thursday, when during a taping he told guest Regis Philbin that was to undergo an angiogram today. That show will air tonight.

Letterman, 52, said he has high blood cholesterol and a history of heart disease in his family. Letterman‘s father Harry died of a heart attack in 1974 when he was in his 50s.

Earlier, Letterman spokesman Howard Rubenstein called the test precautionary only and said that the talk-show host could walk away with a clean bill of health.

BRING AN APPLE FOR OPRAH: Oprah Winfrey can do a lot of things well. She can act, produce movies, ward people off meat and make people cry. Now she’s inspiring business students.

Winfrey, who taught a class called “Dynamics of Leadership” last fall at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, had such a good time and received such great reviews from her students that she’s agreed to return next fall and teach again. She teaches the class with her boyfriend, businessman Stedman Graham.

“Students said she truly provided a class they learned something from,” assistant dean Rich Honack told the Associated Press. Honack said Winfrey‘s reviews were among the best for any Northwestern professor. Winfrey, however, thinks she needs a little improvement.

“I gave myself a B and I’m coming back to get an A because I now know how to get it,” Winfrey told the Daily Northwestern campus newspaper.

HANOI JANE, CHURCH LADY: Holy Communion, Batman! Jane Fonda has reportedly accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal savior.

Rumors are swirling on the Internet and in newspapers around the country that Fonda‘s recent split from husband and media mogul Ted Turner may have been prompted by her newfound, yet hush-hush, faith in God. Turner has been an outspoken critic of Catholicism and Christianity, which he has called a “religion for losers.”

According to an article published Thursday in the Washington Times, Fonda, who has refused comment on her marital break-up, is “regularly attending church services and Bible studies in Atlanta.”

The Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly black congregation where Fonda spends her Sunday mornings, told the newspaper: “I am extremely impressed with the genuineness and sincerity in [her] search for spirituality and wholeness. I think she’s found a certain sense of peace among people who’ve found peace with Christianity.”

Meanwhile, hubby Ted has said that, although he once accepted Christ as a boy at a Billy Graham crusade, he lost his faith after his sister’s death.

In February 1999, at a symposium of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Turner was asked what he would say to Pope John Paul II, who opposes abortion and artificial contraception. Turner responded with an ethnic joke: “Ever seen a Polish mine detector?” Turner said the pope should “get with it. Welcome to the 20th century.” He also ridiculed the Ten Commandments. Later he recanted in front of an Atlanta-area Baptist congregation, saying, “From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for the things I said about Christians.”

Long known for her left-wing political views, and for a series of fat-busting workout videos, Fonda has pretty much kept her opinions (and her exercise regimen) to herself since marrying Turner in 1991. She’s won Oscars for the films “Klute” (1971) and “Coming Home” (1978) but is more remembered for her 1972 sojourn to communist North Vietnam, a trip that branded her as a traitor among U.S. service members and hardcore patriots. She was previously married to liberal California politician and former “Chicago Seven” war protester Tom Hayden for 17 years.

Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, told the Washington Times that Fonda may have been turned on to Christ by her chauffeur, who shared his faith with her while ferrying her about. “We should be kind and gracious and thoughtful and respectful,” Baehr said.