5:40am PT by Erin Carlson
Jay Leno Addresses 'Tonight Show' Layoffs, Slams NBC and Comcast
The Tonight Show layoffs have Jay Leno on the defense.
On Friday, the NBC late-night program laid off about 20 employees; the direct cause of the cuts was not clear, nor were the departments hit. Meanwhile, execs at the Comcast, which owns the network, continue to evaluate the assets the company bought in early last year.
"Welcome to The Tonight Show, or as Comcast calls us, The Expendables! As you may have heard, our parent company has downsized The Tonight Show," Leno said during his monologue Monday (via Vulture). "And we've consistently been No. 1 in the ratings. And if you know anything about our network, that kind of thing is frowned upon."
While Tonight remains a regular ratings leader amongst its competition, its core audience has aged as younger viewers tune into rivals such as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.
"I have more bad news: turns out we've been taken over by Bain Capital!," Leno cracked, adding: "I KNEW something was going on. Friday morning I woke up and there was a peacock head in my bed."
As THR reported, Leno is paid approximately $30 million. He last reupped his contract in 2010 after reclaiming the Tonight Show from Conan O'Brien and, post-layoffs, is said to be taking a sizable pay cut.