Over a dozen employees from The Tonight Show were laid off prompting the show’s host, Jay Leno, to take a huge pay cut to save other employees from losing their jobs. NBC has made strong cutback in expenses to help its bottom line.
The cutbacks took place on Friday and were sent down by NBC Universal, said a person close to NBC who requested anonymity due to the network not officially announcing the cutback as of yet. The payroll cutbacks affected nearly 10% of the show’s 200 employees.
The Tonight Show is still the highest rated show on late-night television. Under the ownership of the Comcast Corp., NBC Universal is attempting to better its overall financial position. Comcast purchased NBC Universal during 2011.
Leno received a pay cut of between $5 million and $10 million to bring his annual pay down to $20 million. He also earns a large amount of money through doing stand up comedy throughout the U.S.
A spokesperson for Leno said the host’s biggest worry was for the important and wonderful staff who he worked with. He therefore, said the spokesperson, did what was necessary to ensure they would not lose their jobs.
Comcast bought a majority interest in NBC Universal and its affiliate companies in 2011 for more than $6.2 billion. Comcast also purchased a number of cable TV channels for over $7.2 billion at the same time. Besides the TV network and the many cable channels, NBC owns a number of theme parks and the movie studio Universal Pictures.