NBC has announced that Jay Leno, in an effort to save the jobs of several “The Tonight Show” employees, has taken a gigantic pay cut. The talk show host has agreed to claim a paycheck which is literally half of what he used to make, bringing his annual salary down to about $15 million.
The network has still endured layoffs, leaving about twenty people without a job after NBC pared its budget to compensate for moving the show to a different time slot. The network’s entertainment chief, Robert Greenblatt, says he met with Leno to figure out the best way to keep things running smoothly.
“Everything is less profitable these days, including the prime-time schedule,” said Greenblatt. “I went to his [Leno’s] office and we sat down and I said, ‘We have to be smart about how we do this show. We are in a difficult place at the network’…He understood.”
The show has suffered some blows in recent months, namely from Jimmy Fallon and from a ratings drop due to viewers tuning in on their own schedules.
“Our biggest challenge is the change in viewing habits,” Leno said. “We fight daily the DVR and online viewing, but we show up to work 5 days a week to make the show as topical, newsworthy, relatable and funny as possible.”