Deadline.com is reporting that between 20 and 25 staffers on The Tonight Show were laid off on Friday after NBC’s corporate parent, cable conglomerate Comcast, ordered the cuts.
In addition, host Jay Leno reportedly took a “tremendous” pay cut in order to mitigate the damage and save as many jobs as possible.
“I don’t think ad sales are off. I just think the people who bought [NBC], Comcast, wants to go through everything at NBC and get their money back,” an NBC insider told Deadline.com. “It’s hard to go through those kinds of cuts. It’s more a network issue than a late-night issue. And I would say that Jay doesn’t get credit for digging out of a gigantic hole every single night. He’s a very valuable guy to NBC and someday everyone will understand that. He does a great job.”
Before anyone starts holding a telethon for poor ol’ Jay, Deadline.com reports that Leno’s new-and-reduced salary is somewhere between $27-$30 million per year. Plus, as Leno himself has been telling anyone who would listen since he took over the show from Johnny Carson, he banks his Tonight Show salary and lives solely off the revenue from his stand-up gigs, which bring in another $15-$20 mil a year.