For Jay Leno and the Tonight show, it must have seemed like 2009 all over again. That was the year that NBC decided to move him into primetime as it turned Tonight over to Conan O’Brien. Leno reportedly got a hefty raise — to $25 million — when that occurred, and he also was able to grow his staff, boosing the show’s budget to $2.3 million per week from $1.7 million.
That’s where it remained when NBC decided to return Leno to his old time period a few months later. However, Comcast, which now controls NBC, has decided to pare down the show’s budget, and Leno has agreed to a salary cut — back to the $20 million per year that he was earning before the move to primetime. The show’s weekly budget has also been pared to 2009 levels, according to reports. Citing a person with knowledge of the cuts, the New York Times said on Sunday that despite the restructuring, viewers are not expected to see any changes to the show. News of the cuts was first reported by Deadline.com.