Team CoCo members, get ready to like Jay Leno just a little more.
Last month, rumors were swirling that Comcast cuts would result in numerous job losses at the peacock network, and that "The Tonight Show"'s host was taking a steep pay cut in order to save the jobs of 20 members of the late night talk show's staff. Today, NBC officially confirmed that Leno agreed to a 50% pay cut, from $30 million to $15 million per year, which in turn slashed "The Tonight Show"'s ballooning $100 million budget by 20%. The deal also extended Leno's run as host until 2014.
NBC entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt confirmed that the cuts were part of a move to reverse the enormous budget increases that went into effect during the show's tumultuous 2009 season. Greenblatt said, ”I went to [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.”
In one of the more unintentionally funny quotes from the NBC exec, Greenblatt told the Wall Street Journal regarding an exit date for Leno, ”That’s a conversation we’ll have as we look down the road. I’m sure there will be a day when these guys — Letterman and Leno — wake up and say, ‘It’s time for us to exit gracefully.’”
This intrepid reporter seems to remember Leno saying something similar in 2004...