"Jay's foremost concern is for the wonderful people who work with him at 'The Tonight Show,' " said Leno spokesman Bruce Bobbins, MSNBC
reported. "He did what was necessary to ensure their well-being."
Leno had been making between $25 million to $30 million annually as the host of "The Tonight Show." His salary will be reduced to about $20 million after making the job-saving concessions.
According to the BBC
, Leno reportedly brings home another $15-$20m annually through personal appearances touring as a stand-up comedian.
Other senior staff on The Tonight Show are also believed to have agreed to pay cuts, the BBC reports.
NBC Universal imposed the cutbacks Friday. The payroll purge has affected about 10% of the roughly 200 people who work on "The Tonight Show," still the top-rated late-night program.
The BBC says the job cuts and salary reductions - first reported by Deadline.com
- are believed to be part of a restructuring program that will see the show's weekly production budget, estimated to be around $2.3 million, cut by 25% to $1.7m.
NBC Universal is trying to improve its financial performance under the ownership of Comcast Corp., which bought the entertainment company last year, MSNBC reported.
Leno isn't the only talk show host who has taken a salary cut in the midst of hard times. David Letterman, the host of a rival late-night show on CBS, accepted a significant pay cut in 2009.