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Comcast’s NBC Trims 20 ‘Tonight Show’ Jobs, Cuts Leno’s Pay

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama chats with Jay Leno during a break while recording an interview on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios in Burbank, California, on Oct. 25, 2011. Photographer: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal eliminated about 20 positions from “The Tonight Show” and host Jay Leno took a salary cut, a person familiar with the moves said.

Leno, who receives about $25 million to $30 million a year, agreed to accept about $20 million, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. The Los Angeles Times and IMDB.com, a movie and entertainment website, reported the staff cuts and Leno’s pay package earlier.

Dick Guttman, a publicist for Leno, didn’t respond to a voicemail left by Bloomberg News seeking comment. Leno’s agent, Steve Levine, also didn’t immediately reply to a voicemail and e-mail.

The move comes 19 months after Philadelphia-based Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, acquired control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co. GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, moved Leno to 10 p.m. three years ago in a failed attempt to move the late-night talk-show host into prime time.

Other staff members also agreed to pay cuts as well, the Times reported.

The newspaper said the show’s weekly budget will be about $1.7 million after the cost cuts, down from about $2.3 million now.

Shares of Comcast fell less than 1 percent to $34.02 on Aug. 17 in Nasdaq trading. The stock is up 43 percent year to date.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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