The Check's in the Mail

When I first came to Fox (February 2002), I appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” I was very excited to be on “The Tonight Show.”

I learned that NBC compensates its guests for appearances (we, in the news, do not.) If the appearance replays, there is another check sent to the guest for compensation.

Imagine my glee when today I received mail from “The Tonight Show” (Entertainment Partners.) I opened the mail and it was from “The Tonight Show” with a check! Per the paperwork enclosed, my appearance replayed on Dec 31, 2003 and NBC wanted to compensate me fully.

And how much am I worth? Check out photo No. 1 of the check. I know the picture is not great... so let me help you. The amount is $1.02.

For "convenience" for the payee (me) there is a breakdown of my compensation included with the check: My full pay was $1.65, but taxes of 41 cents were withheld and thus forwarded to the IRS, FICA-SSA of 10 cents was withheld, FICA-MED of 2 cents was withheld and finally 10 cents was withheld for Work St Ca (whatever that is.)

I am always happy to get compensation for my work, but the problem is that I will spend more time and money dealing with this with my accountant next April 15 than the net of $1.02 is worth. To begin with, I will need to mail this paperwork to my accountant so already I am "out" about 34 cents for postage (unless I forget to mail it on time and have to drop it in the FedEx on the 14 of April! I don't want to calculate that one.)

And, Jay Leno, if you read this, "Please stop paying me. I love doing the show, but I am not sure it makes financial sense."

If any of you doubt this payment is true -- that anyone could really do this – photo No. 2 is evidence that the check is for my appearance on “The Tonight Show.”

And speaking of money, did you see those two great kids -- Brittany and Robbie Bergquist -- on our show Thursday night? They are raising money for our troops' cell phone bills in Iraq so that the troops can call home.

When I was told in the afternoon meeting about Brittany, and that she was booked for the show, I asked, "How old is she?" The answer was "thirteen." I was then a bit apprehensive. Would she freeze on TV? Would she give me only one-word answers? And then what would be our backup? But then someone added in the meeting, "She wants to bring her brother."

I immediately felt better. I assumed the brother would be an older brother. Maybe 19? If Brittany froze, I could easily go to her brother and have him finish the segment. It was not until I was going over information about the show about seven hours later, and about 60 minutes before show time, that I learned that the brother is younger. He is twelve.

As it turned out, they were the best guests. They were smart, knew their topic and chatty. I loved them. Just before the segment started, while they were miked, my New York line producer overheard them talking and Robbie said, "I've never been so nervous so late at night!”

If you want to contribute, visit, or make a donation to:

Cell Phones for Soldiers Donations
South Shore Savings Bank
Norwell, Massachusetts
(781) 337-7800


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