Latenight host gives holiday assurances

“Tonight Show” host Jay Leno met with his staff Wednesday and vowed that he’d continue personally to pay their salaries through at least Christmas.

Leno previously had said he’d pay through this week. But in a confab with staffers at the show’s Burbank HQ, Leno said that he’d keep the checks coming through the holiday. After that, he told them he’ll make a decision on a week-by-week basis.

Funnyman’s face-to-face with employees — most of whom were laid off by NBC last week– followed a spate of bad PR for Leno, who seemed to hesitate before agreeing to fund his staffer’s salaries. Leno told staffers he hadn’t made advance arrangements for their salaries because he had been hearing the strike was going to be settled.

Most of the other latenight hosts previously had made plans to ensure their staffers continued drawing some sort of salary. Leno had made such promises at the start of the strike, which made his initial failure to follow through last week puzzling. People familiar with Leno’s thinking, however, insist it was all just a communication glitch and noted that none of the staffers came close to missing a paycheck.

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