The bloom is off the rose at The Tonight Show. While NBC’s late-night talk show still makes money and is the ratings winner among all the competition, it’s not what it once was. The host change, the screwing over of Conan O’Brien, all that stuff has negatively impacted the show’s ability to draw advertisers, hence the show’s not the cash cow it used to be. Despite still besting David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, and all the rest, pay cuts and job losses are the order of the day, starting at the top. Jay Leno took a 50% pay cut to safe staffer jobs.
The move was one by NBC to bring the show’s costs down. It was spending like a prime time show, and they wanted it to spend like a late night talk show. Hence, the reduction in salaries and benefits by firing some of the staff members. Leno, rather than letting them cut as many staff as they wanted, agreed to a pay cut instead. He’ll be losing $15 million a year, but gaining the loyalty of his staff and some much-needed positive public attention.
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