Jay Leno Extends NBC Contract to 2014 After Budget Cuts and Layoffs at ‘The Tonight Show’

Jay Leno is taking a big hit on his NBC contract for The Tonight Show. NBC has finally confirmed that his salary has been cut from $30 million to $15 million and that the entire show’s budget has been slashed by 20 percent. This comes on the heels of more than 20 staff layoffs and buzz about what kind of a deal Leno would come out with — or even whether Tonight, which has aired on NBC for more than 50 years, would survive much longer.

NBC’s Entertainment Chief, Robert Greenblatt, confirmed these numbers to the Wall Street Journal and also announced that Leno has extended his contract for another two years, until May 2014.

Greenblatt told WSJ that the Tonight Show cuts were partly due to the inflated budget the show operated under during Leno’s switch to primetime for a brief period of time in 2009 before moving back to late night in early 2010. In the two years since, the late-night show’s budget hadn’t returned to its earlier level. “All we did was bring it back down to pre-primetime levels,” Greenblatt told the Journal.

Where does this leave Leno after his contract ends?

Greenblatt declined to name a specific date for when or even if Leno might leave once his contract is up in 2014. Noting that Leno and CBS rival David Letterman have been facing off for nearly 20 years, Greenblatt said, “I’m sure there will be a day when these guys – Letterman and Leno – wake up and say ‘It’s time for us to exit gracefully.’”

Leno’s been vocal about his disappointment in NBC parent company Comcast’s decision to make budget cuts. He opened his show on Aug. 20 with, “Welcome to The Tonight Show, or as Comcast calls us, The Expendables.”

Leno went on to say, “We’ve consistently been No. 1 in the ratings, and if you know anything about our network, that kind of thing is frowned upon.”

Nonetheless, Leno e-mailed the Journal to say that he was on board with the leaner budget, despite last month’s on-air grumbling. “We are just going to work harder and more efficiently,” he wrote. “Our job is to be sure that none of this shows up on screen.”

Deadline initially reported the cuts on Aug. 17 that Comcast was making the layoffs despite ad sales remaining solid. The company singled out the show’s cost of about $2.3 million a week (amounting to about $100 million per year), arguing that Tonight‘s budget should be around $1.7 million per week instead.

Leno made the decision to take a pay cut in order to save some staffers from being let go, but the exact numbers of his new contract hadn’t been confirmed until now.

 

What do you think about Leno taking a cut for The Tonight Show? Sound off in our comments section below.

‘X Factor’s’ Simon Cowell Says He’s ‘P-ssed’ at ‘The Voice’: Prays Newly Added Third Day ‘Backfires’

The world of television music competitions can get ugly (and it has). It’s a crowded space for a limited amount of eyeballs.

So, when NBC announced on Wednesday that it would be adding a third day to its premiere week for The Voice – directly against FOX’s The X Factor’s Season 2 debut on Wednesday — executive producer and judge Simon Cowell called foul.

“I am p-ssed off about it,” Cowell, 52, told reporters on a press call Thursday.

What else did he have to say about NBC’s latest move?

“I think it’s kind of a gentleman’s agreement,” he continued. “But, you have to rely on that the viewers will make the right selection. I think three nights in a row is too much. I think there’s a lot of interest going into our show with Britney [Spears], Demi [Lovato], [and] the way the show is going to look. So, I’ve learned never to make and predictions.”

NBC has been very aggressive about capitalizing on its musical show’s success. After a ratings boost from the show’s first season, it launched Season 2 with the help of the Super Bowl. Then, it announced it would be fast-tracking its third season for the fall – which would place the Emmy-nominated show at the same time of year as Cowell’s franchise.

And although Cowell has been known to make what some believe to be calculated moves to steal the spotlight from other shows – such as firing half of his judges and announcing their replacements throughout other shows’ runs – he’s saying that The Voice is playing dirty.

As for the NBC show’s executive producer Mark Burnett’s claim that he had no idea that the third day cut into The X Factor’s premiere episode, Cowell exhales, “Give me a break, like I don’t know when my show is going out next week.”

“It’s tactical,” he goes on to say. “But, you know it’s very important to get this message out. They don’t want you to watch this show. And I think it’s going to backfire.”

Why does he think NBC, whose producers and stars say they don’t even think of the competition, wants to steal viewers from X Factor’s premiere?

“I think [Britney Spears and Demi Lovato] do a great job, the contestants are great, the show looks different from anything else we’ve ever made before. And I think this is the reason NBC decided to put The Voice up against us,” he says. “It’s a spoiling tactic and it’s very simple: They don’t want people to see this first episode. I think it’s mean-spirited. I hope and I pray that it backfires on them, because this is one of the best shows we’ve ever made.”

And although Lovato was also on the call, Cowell came to her defense when asked how they felt about The Voice coach Christina Aguilera’s statement that she’s not sure what the pop star has to offer the judges’ panel.

Cowell says, “Tell her to watch the show. She might learn something.”

The X Factor starts its two-night Season 2 premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 12 on FOX.

Which show will you be tuning into next Wednesday? The X Factor or The Voice? Tell us in the comments section below.

Honey Boo Boo Vs. Bill Clinton: Is the Future of the Nation at Stake? (ANALYSIS)

Forget Obama vs. Romney. The biggest showdown in America may be the one tonight between Bubba and Boo Boo — er, between former President Bill Clinton and seven-year-old reality TV star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson.

The ex-president is addressing the nation tonight during the Democratic National Convention, where he will no doubt paint the upcoming election in stark, historical, high-stakes terms.

But the import of what he has to say may be lost or ignored by a plurality of Americans, who may instead choose to watch the tiny beauty pageant contestant and her eccentric family on TLC’s surprise summer hit Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The show airs at 10 PM, around the same time as the former president’s speech.

Is it alarmist to worry that a show whose critics have called it a doomsday bell tolling the death of civilization as we know it will outdraw a speech of national importance?

No it’s not, considering that last week’s episode, watched by some 3 million viewers, outdrew each network’s coverage of the Republican National Convention. So the stakes are high this week, not just for Nielsen-ratings bragging rights, but perhaps for the very future of the United States of America.

Bill Clinton may be one of the most popular ex-presidents and riveting speakers in recent history, but is he compelling enough to outdraw the antics of a sassy little girl with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a family of proud and colorful grotesques? And if not, what does that say about America?

Actually, Clinton and Miss Thompson may have more in common than either would care to admit. Both are from the deep South and proud of it; both grew up (or started to) in relative poverty; and both burned with insatiable ambition, egged on by supportive mothers. Oh, and both have been slaves to appetites that have nearly proven their downfall.

And of course, both have been called white trash — Clinton by the Washington establishment that never really stopped thinking of him as a hick and an outsider and which jumped at the first excuse to punish him for it. (“He came in here and he trashed the place, and it’s not his place,” said Washington Post columnist David Broder at the height of impeachment-mania in 1998.)

As for Honey Boo Boo, Thompson’s stage mom, 300-pound hurricane June Shannon, has been singled out, along with the show in general, as an example of horrific parenting, raising a family of girls on their way to similar obesity, plying Alana with “go-go juice” (a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull) before sending her onstage at kiddie beauty pageants, and serving as the most nightmarish portrait of unfit motherhood since — well, since MTV gave us Teen Mom and Snooki. Not the least of Shannon’s crimes: allowing her tyke to be filmed for this show, which may be even more exploitative of her than the beauty pageants are. (Honey Boo Boo is, of course, a spinoff of the similarly appalling Toddlers & Tiaras.)

The show has allowed critics to have their moonshine and drink it too. They get to slam it for indulging in stereotypes of Southern backwardness so broad that no Ivy League-bred Hollywood TV scriptwriter would ever dare put them on paper, all while judging the show’s real-life protagonists for living down to those stereotypes. The critics get to be outraged (in the direst, most alarmist terms) and patronizing at the same time. But then, so do the viewers, which may be part of the show’s appeal.

After all, like so much of reality TV, there’s a hidden element of class superiority involved. We can watch Teen Mom or Jersey Shore and enjoy the outlandish behavior while assuring ourselves that we would never behave as foolishly as these apparent products of lax upbringings. Shows like Honey Boo Boo allow us to say, There but for the grace of God (and some boneheaded decisions) go I.

We don’t like to mention the existence of class in America (even to acknowledge a growing inequality gap in income is to engage in class warfare, according to Republicans), but as long as we can assure ourselves that we’re on the right side of that divide, we can pretend it doesn’t exist.

No doubt Clinton will spend much of his allotted time tonight saying, yes, the class divide does exist, and we need to do something about it. For one thing, he’ll say, we need to vote for the candidate we think is most likely to address the issue. Oh, but that’s too difficult, too medicinal, and no fun.

It’s easier to watch June Shannon breaking wind and feeding her brood roadkill. Then again, maybe there’s no better cautionary tale about how our system is broken and in desperate need of fixing than Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Either way,we’ve been warned.

Who do you think will win the ratings war? Honey Boo Boo or Clinton?

Audrina Patridge on Former ‘The Hills’ Co-Star Lauren Conrad: We Don’t Even Speak (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Audrina Patridge‘s present doesn’t include much of her past – at least when it comes to her former Hills co-star Lauren Conrad.

“I don’t really talk to Lauren or see her at all,” she confessed to Celebuzz in an exclusive interview.

“I think there was a little of a falling out [between us]. We kind of went our separate ways. The show brought us together and without that show, we all kind of go back to our own thing.”

Patridge does, however, keep in touch with some of her former co-stars.

“I speak with Stephanie [Pratt] every now and then, Kristin [Cavallari], Brody [Jenner] and Justin [Bobby] — I ran into him. That’s it.”

So will the famous California clan ever reunite on the small screen?

Patridge says yes – but not anytime soon.

“Maybe not right now — it’s only been two years,” she said. “G ive it another year or two years, because then everyone will be established. I feel like between two years ago and now, everyone is transitioning and figuring it out.”

The brunette beauty, meanwhile, has definite plans for her future.

“I’m 27 right now so I want to be married before I’m 30,” said Patridge, who’s currently dating BMX-riding Australian hunk Corey Bohan.

 

And she may even be willing to test the waters of reality TV again; she starred in her own self-titled spin-off show, which was canceled last year after one season.

“I’m not ruling it out. I’m not saying yes; I’m not saying no,” she admitted. “I did it for seven years of my life…you’re still learning and going through experiences and I had to do that on camera. At this point, I know what I want and wouldn’t want. It would depend.”

 

In the meantime, Patridge is getting back to work.

“I took a little time off and traveled and did my own thing,” she said. “I’m back in LA now and getting into that groove of auditioning, which is really competitive, and doing some hosting classing and modeling gigs. And I have two things we’re going to announce at the end of the year for 2013.”

Any clues?

“They’re really exciting and it has to do with TV,” she teased. “It’ll be fun.”

 

 

 

Puddle of Mudd Singer Wes Scantlin Arrested After Mid-Air Fight Caused Emergency Landing: 9 Other Celebrity Airline Meltdowns (GALLERY)

Flying can sometimes bring out the worst in people — just ask Puddle of Mudd frontman Wes Scantlin.

Scantlin was arrested at an Austin, TX, airport on Tuesday for allegedly starting a fight with a flight attendant while in the air.

The singer reportedly got into a verbal argument when a flight attendant wouldn’t sell him alcohol.

Could this mean more legal woes for the troubled singer?

Scantlin was arrested and booked for public intoxication in Austin, but he could also later face federal charges for interfering with the flight crew while in the air, TMZ reported.

In July, the singer plead guilty to felony cocaine possession, but as part of his sentence, the judge agreed to clear his record in 18 months if Scantlin stays out of legal troubles.

There’s no word yet on whether or not Scantlin’s mid-air meltdown will affect his record.

However, the singer isn’t the only celebrity to cause a ruckus in the skies. Take a look at the gallery below to see who else caused major airline drama.