"Tonight Show" host Jay Leno is taking a significant reduction in pay and roughly two dozen staffers are being let go as part of a major budget restructuring at the late-night talk show.
Although"The Tonight Show"remains the top-rated late-night program, from a financial standpoint it is only break-even, according to a person familiar with the show's economics. One reason is that its production budget was not reduced when Leno returned to late night after his ill-fated stint in prime time during the 2009-10 television season.
Leno, whose current salary is between $25 million and $30 million, volunteered to take a cut if it would save some jobs. A person close to NBC thought Leno's new salary to be around $20 million.
"Jay's foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work for 'The Tonight Show,'" Bruce Bobbins, one of Leno's spokesmen, said in a statement. "He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being."