The comic had agreed to take the lower salary — down to about $15 million — to save jobs, though 20 employees, including writers and producers, were eventually laid off last month.
The pay cut was a major part of the Comcast-owned network’s 20% cut of the show’s annual $100 million budget.
NBC’s entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt said the budget cuts were implemented to recoup the extra millions it forked over moving Leno to primetime in 2009. Amid poor ratings, “The Jay Leno Show” was cancelled and the popular host was pushed back to his original 11:35 p.m. “Tonight Show” slot.
The network has also been battling a drop in viewership and advertising.
Greenblatt told the Wall Street Journal he approached Leno about the budget issues last spring.
“I went to his office and we sat down and I said, ‘We have to be smart about how we do this show. We are in a difficult place at the network,’” Greenblatt said. “He understood.”