The direct cause of the shakeup at NBC’s late-night staple is not yet clear, nor are the exact areas of the program that were hit by the downsizing.
While the Jay Leno-hosted talker regularly tops the late night ratings, its core audience has aged as competition from such younger-skewing shows as Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report has siphoned away viewers.
The move comes as executives at NBC owner Comcast continue to evaluate the assets the company bought in early 2011.
THR has reported that Leno is paid approximately $30 million. He last reupped his contract in 2010 after reclaiming the Tonight Show from Conan O’Brien. The show currently employs between 150 and 200 people, according to a network source.
The Tonight Show returned this week after a two-week break for the Olympics.
Meanwhile, the program’s weekly budget will be cut from $2.3 million — the amount allotted for Leno’s primetime show that carried over when he took the Tonight reigns from O’Brien — to around $1.7 million, back near where it was during the host’s first late-night run, the Los Angeles Times reports. The paper notes that Leno is taking a sizable pay cut in the process.
Three years ago, David Letterman also had his salary and Late Show budget reduced amid CBS restructuring.