SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — "The Tonight Show" has laid off about two dozen workers, prompting host Jay Leno to accept a pay cut to spare other staffers as NBC clamps down on expenses.
NBC Universal imposed the cutbacks Friday, according to a person familiar with the moves. The person asked not to be identified because NBC Universal hadn't officially disclosed the cost cutting.
The payroll purge affected about 10 percent of the roughly 200 people who work on "The Tonight Show," still the top-rated late-night program. Viewers shouldn't notice any changes in programming at "The Tonight Show," the person said.
NBC Universal is trying to improve its financial performance under the ownership of Comcast Corp., which bought the entertainment company last year.
Leno had been making between $25 million to $30 million annually as the host of "The Tonight Show." His salary will be reduced to about $20 million after making the job-saving concessions. Leno also brings in substantial income touring as a stand-up comedian.
"Jay's foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work with him at 'The Tonight Show,'" said Bruce Bobbins, a spokesman for Leno. "He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being."
Several other staffers on "The Tonight Show" also absorbed pay cuts.
David Letterman, the host of a rival late-night show on CBS, accepted a significant pay cut in 2009.
The show's cost-cutting measures were first reported by Deadline Hollywood, a website that tracks the entertainment industry.
Comcast bought a controlling interest in NBC Universal for $6.2 billion in cash and several cable-TV channels valued at $7.25 billion. Besides its TV network and several cable channels, NBC also owns the Universal Pictures movie studio and theme parks.
Comcast, which is based in Philadelphia, makes most of its money selling cable TV and high-speed Internet access.
Despite its solid ratings, "The Tonight Show" hasn't been a big moneymaker. That prompted the cuts Friday, which are expected to trim the program's weekly budget by about $600,000, or 25 percent, to $1.7 million. That's back to its levels of a few years ago.
Leno outmaneuvered Letterman to succeed Johnny Carson as "The Tonight Show" host in 1992 and remained in one of television's most sought-after jobs for the next 17 years. At NBC's behest, he left the show in 2009 and was replaced by Conan O'Brien. After a few months hosting his own show in an earlier time slot, Leno returned as "The Tonight Show" host in 2010 in a decision that provoked a nasty fight between O'Brien and NBC.
O'Brien now hosts a late-night talk show on TBS
During Leno's brief stint hosting his prime-time program, his show's weekly budget escalated and wasn't reduced significantly to reflect his return to the late-night slot until now.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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