Leno took 50 percent cut to avoid layoffs

Sept. 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno took a 50 percent pay cut to prevent staff layoffs at the show, an NBC Universal representative said.

The pay cut, which protected the jobs an unreported number of employees, was to the tune of $15 million, CNN reported Friday. Leno also extended his contract until September 2014, the representative, whose name was not reported, said.

The network had laid off 20 to 25 employees last month in an attempt to adjust "The Tonight Show's" expenses to be more in line with typical late-night programming costs, a source, whose name was not reported, told CNN.

Even more employees would have lost their jobs had Leno not taken the pay cut.

Leno took over hosting duties from Johnny Carson at "The Tonight Show" in 1992. He took a brief break from the show and time slot three years ago when NBC moved him to prime time to host "The Jay Leno Show."

He was moved back to the 11:35 time months later slot due to poor ratings for the prime time show.

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