It ain’t pretty, but thank God we have dudes like this willing to speak the truth. The continuing tragedy of The Tonight Show and NBC’s mismanagement of the legendary talk show franchise rolls on. Last week, the show laid off 20 to 25 people after the per-episode budget was cut from $2.3 million to $1.7 million. Why exactly does it cost several million dollars to fill an hour and a half with a washed-up Doritos pitchman? This reminds me of the last days of Conan when he was blowing money on Bugattis and Super Bowl footage for fun, only it’s real. According to Deadline, Jay Leno also took what was described as a “tremendous” pay cut. What a cool boss, right?
Howard Stern, though, is calling bull on the whole thing. When the news dropped, Stern went on the radio and basically pinned all the blame for the cuts on Leno, saying that he used the network as a scapegoat to get rid of people and increase his own bottom line. And I quote:
“It’s all horsesh-t. It’s bullsh-t. It’s a smokescreen… Here’s what it really means, and you can take this to the bank: Jay Leno is a scumbag. That’s what that means. He’s a spineless maggot. Jay wanted to cut staff. He’s embarrassed to do it. He didn’t want to come off as a bad guy. NBC took the hit for him, because they’re a corporation… My bullsh-t meter is going off all over the place.”
From reports, even though The Tonight Show is still the top-rated late night program, it still doesn’t make any money, so NBC trying to cut costs is not surprising. Needless to say, NBC officials weren’t all too pleased at Stern’s comments. When a caller asked if the network had blown back on Stern, he confirmed that an executive had indeed made veiled threats to Stern, to which he responded with serious derision, saying “F-ck Jay. Take my job away from me. Who cares?”
Here’s audio of the segment in question. Gotta say, I’m on Stern’s side here, but that’s no surprise. This reeks of creepiness.