This puzzle appeared in Microsoft Puzzle Hunt 19, whose theme was TV.
That event was modular in that each author wrote a module consisting of a few
puzzles and a metapuzzle.
The theme of my module was Saturday Night Live.
The answer to the first one is PUBLIC HEN, which when re-spaced makes PUB LICHEN.
In the first clue, since PUB is worth $100 and LICHEN is worth $400, take the 1+4=5th letter of PUBLICHEN.
Once you have the final 28-word clue, it may help to look up the fourth word of that clue in Merriam-Webster.