- (Photo: REUTERS / Jason Reed)
Jay Leno allegedly took a major pay cut after the "Tonight Show" continued to just break even.
It appears that a lousy economy can affect everyone, even if you are Jay Leno. The iconic talk show host accepted a significant pay decrease after over a dozen staff members had been let go.
"The Tonight Show" is still one of the top rated nightly shows, however reports have stated that show is just barely breaking even according to The Los Angeles Times. Leno volunteered to take the cut in lieu of less people having to lose their jobs.
While the initial paycut was estimated to be just $5 million less than his regular salary, the latest report suggests that the salary cut could be as much as 50 percent. Leno was originally making an estimated $25 to 30 million.
"Jay's foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work for 'The Tonight Show,'" Bruce Bobbins, one of Leno's spokesmen, said in a statement to The Times. "He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being."
The show itself will also see a decreased budget. Originally set at approximately $2.3 million a night, it will now be reduced to about $1.7 million, according to sources. The show is part of the NBC Universal network, which is trying to make an overall financial improvement after falling under the ownership of Comcast.
Leno has been a staple on the show for years, which has received solidly consistent ratings. Leno took a break in 2009 in an attempt to host is own show on the same network, but was returned to his original position after only a few months.