Leno starred in several films in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with notable roles in Almost Heaven, The Flinstones, and Collision Course. However, it was his work as a comedian and a television show host that caught the eye. He replaced Johnny Carson as the host of the Tonight Show in 1992. The move was controversial at the time, with David Letterman being the man everyone had expected to get the job. However, Leno has proved himself over the years, and brought great ratings and recognition to NBC over the years.
Leno has been involved in his share of controversies, none more so than the 2009-2010 period where he was expected to hand over reign of The Tonight Show to Conan O’Brien. After much wrangling, and poor ratings for NBC, Leno returned to The Tonight Show in 2010 and O’Brien was given a $33 million payoff by NBC. Leno is set to be replaced by Jimmy Fallon in the coming year.
Jay Leno is set to have a net worth of over $250 million. This takes into account his earnings from his various movie and TV show roles, in addition to any sponsorships he may have. He earned $15 million in 2012 thanks to his role as the Host of the Tonight Show, with those earnings continuing into his final year, 2013. While $15 million a year is still a huge amount, it amounted to a 50% pay cut for Leno. The move reflected the poor ratings that NBC (and other networks) have been getting for their late night shows.