Report: Jay Leno Takes Pay Cut as Tonight Show Lays Off 20 Staff Members

Natalie Abrams
TV Guide
Jay Leno | Photo Credits: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno laid off around 20 staff members on Friday, reports.

Some 20 to 25 staff members were laid off this week, with producers on the NBC late-night talk show given the option to take pay cuts or lose their jobs, according to the site. Jay Leno reportedly took a "tremendous" pay cut in an attempt to save jobs. It's unclear what prompted the layoffs since The Tonight Show regularly beats the other late-night fare in the ratings.

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Leno took over The Tonight Show from Johnny Carson in 1992 before passing on the torch to Conan O'Brien in 2009. However, when O'Brien's ratings were on the fritz, the network asked him to move The Tonight Show's time slot to a later time so Leno's talk show could shift from the 10 p.m. hour to 11:30 p.m. O'Brien refused and left the network for TBS, so Leno returned to The Tonight Show in 2010.

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