​Jay Leno Agrees To 50 Percent Reduction In ‘Tonight Show’ Pay Cut

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September 11, 2021

Jay Leno has extended his contract with NBC.

Jay Leno is taking a 50 percent pay cut as part of NBC’s decision to reduce The Tonight Show’s budget for two more years, ending May 2014, which also prevents further layoffs.

“We are just going to work harder and more efficiently,” NBC’s entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt told WSJ. “Our job is to be sure that none of this shows up on screen.”

The talk show laid off 20 employees from its production department last month.

Jay Leno goes from $30 million to $15 million

Leno’s 50 percent cut brings his salary down to around $15 million, which helped NBC to make good on a “$100 million annual budget by about 20%”. The late-night host said that, in order to save the jobs of some of his staff members, he accepted the new terms. The network has now confirmed his claim.

Greenblatt assured fans that the budget cut won’t affect the show’s quality.

“We are just going to work harder and more efficiently,” he told WSJ. “Our job is to be sure that none of this shows up on screen.

“Our biggest challenge is the change in viewing habits. We fight daily the DVR and online viewing, but we show up to work five days a week to make the show as topical, newsworthy, relatable and funny as possible.”

The mid-August restructuring effort by the Peacock Network reflected “The Tonight Show’s” less-than-stellar ratings. While the segment is still technically atop the late-night heap, it’s only breaking even financially.

Leno ripped into the network and its parent company Comcast in a monologue delivered soon after news of the budget cuts became public.

“Welcome to The Tonight Show, or as Comcast calls us, The Expendables,” Leno joked.