In an effort to trim expenses, NBC Universal — owned by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) — laid off about 20 employees last week. The show’s host, Jay Leno, accepted a pay cut to spare the jobs belonging to additional staff members.
“Jay’s foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work with him at The Tonight Show,” Leno spokesman Bruce Bobbins, said in a statement. “He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being.”
Leno’s salary from the late-night show, which was reportedly in the range of $25 to $30 million, has been slimmed to about $20 million. He was not the only member of The Tonight Show to take a salary cut.
The Tonight Show brings in solid ratings for the network, but not a lot of dough. The show is expected to return to its weekly budget of several years ago, which The Associated Press reports as being $1.7 million. That translates to about a cut of 25%.
Leno’s acceptance of a pay cut to save additional jobs is not unprecedented in Hollywood. Last year, producers of Fox’s The Simpsons took a pay cut to prevent the show’s cancellation. Leno’s late-night rival David Letterman also accepted a lower salary in 2009.