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Jay Leno jokes about layoffs in 'Tonight Show' monologue

August 21, 2012|By Patrick Kevin Day

Jay Leno worked in some jabs at his bosses at NBC and its corporate parent Comcast on Monday's "Tonight Show," the first show taped since the late-night program had to lay off roughly two dozen employees and Leno himself took a pay cut.

Leno kicked off the program telling the audience, "Welcome to 'The Tonight Show,' or as Comcast calls us, 'The Expendables!'"

He continued, "As you may have heard, our parent company has downsized 'The Tonight Show.' And we've been consistently No. 1 in the ratings. And if you know anything about our network, that kind of thing is frowned upon around here."

After a joke about being taken over by Bain Capital, Leno closed out the run of jokes by saying, "I knew something was going on. Friday morning I woke up and there was a peacock head in my bed."

Leno's show had been operating with a weekly budget of around $2.3 million, which it had been given when it was in prime time. The new weekly budget, closer to $1.7 million, is more in line with what Leno had before his prime time experiment.

Leno took the pay cut to try and save more jobs. It's estimated that his pay went from around $25 million to $30 million a year to around $20 million a year.

Leno isn't the only late-night host to face cutbacks in recent years. CBS restructured David Letterman's deal in 2009, which resulted in the "Late Show" host taking home less money.


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