Jay Leno took a $5 million pay cut in a sincere effort to save staffers’ jobs at “The Tonight Show,” but NBC Universal’s parent company Comcast Corp. is going ahead and laying off 20 to 25 staff members in a restructuring effort. The late-night show’s budget was originally $2.3 million, but the cutbacks bring it closer to $1.7 million per episode.
Leno had been earning $25 million to $30 million annually, but agreed to a $20-million salary to free up the budget. Other “Tonight Show” staffers similarly agreed to lower wages.
“Jay’s foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work with him at ‘The Tonight Show,” said Leno spokesman Bruce Bobbins. “He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being.”