December 1, 2007


I guess passing out some donuts while wearing his Republican lapel pin <snark> to striking writers was as far he was willing to go. I also call this a firing because of the way NBC handled the lay off with no job guarantees extended to the staffers.

What a putz.

Today was the last day for most of the 120 staffers on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," who left with an early Christmas bonus check and no guarantee of a job when the strike ended.

Do we have a job when the strike ends? That's what everyone keeps asking," one former staffer said. "They've guaranteed no one a job. They just keep saying, 'The letter explains it."

That letter is a notice from NBC's human resources department that says, "If your services are needed, we will contact you."

"We haven't heard from him since the second or third day of the strike," the former staffer said. "He called on speakerphone while we were in our daily meeting and said, 'Don't look for other jobs , no one's going to lose their house, we'll get though this.' Two weeks ago, we got the heads up that we had two more weeks (of pay) and that's it. Everyone wondered, 'Is Jay going to come through?' And nothing happened. Conan makes less and he said, 'I'm going to pay for my people.' "

"People are devastated today because we thought that he meant something more than an early Christmas bonus," another said. "A lot of people didn't look for other work, based on Jay's assurances."

The BBC has more: "TV network NBC confirmed the job losses without providing further details as to how many people had been affected. The show had to start showing repeats when the strike began on 5 November and Leno supported the picket lines.

Bob Cesca says:

Conan and Letterman are both paying their people. Leno makes $27 million a year. In other words, he could pay his staff $5 million, and he'd still make $21 million this year.

* Correction made, I meant to say "staffers". Apologies for confusion.

Update: It looks like Leno will pay some cash after all.

This just in: Jay Leno will now indeed pay "Tonight Show" staffers their salaries through at least next week. According to a source close to the show, Leno plans to extend the pay (to around 100 staffers) on a week-by-week basis, with the hope that a strike will be settled soon....Insiders say Leno was caught off guard by the heavy dose of criticism. According to a source close to the show, the Christmas bonuses handed out by Leno on Friday (believed to be $100 times the number of years a recipient has been on staff) were never meant to be in lieu of a on

Correction: I've changed the headline. It was a bit harsh and not accurate.

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