NBC U Will Pull Pauley

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NBC Universal Television is pulling the plug on its freshman syndicated talker, The Jane Pauley Show.

Production will continue, with the syndicator promising to keep stations stoked with a mix orf new and repeat episodes through May sweeps.

The former Today Show host had rocky ratings since her debut last August and stations started moving it out of prime slots soon after.

Stations who had slotted the show in key news lead-in time slots were disappointed in the ratings, but almost Universally (no pun intended) praised NBC Universal's approach to their requests to move the show.

NBC Universal has been openly talking about pulling the plug on the show, which had been sold for two years, since January.

NBC Universal said in a statement: "Jane Pauley is one of the most experienced, trusted broadcasters in the nation and held with the highest regard within the NBC Universal family. We are very proud of the quality of work Jane, the producers and the entire team at 'The Jane Pauley Show' have put forward this season."

Pauley said of the effort: "We started out with an enormous vote of confidence from our stations and have seen our audience grow steadily from November until now, but it came too late for too many to stick with us. That we remain the top new daytime talk show of the season in spite of that, is a testament to the incredible commitment of a staff of talented people who have made me so proud to put my name on our show. My deepest disappointment is that they won't enjoy the run they deserve. I remain deeply grateful to NBC for the chance of a lifetime. I absolutely loved it."

Pauley's demise is probably as much about heightened expectations as raw ratings. She was sold as a potential competitor to Oprah, but that never panned out.

Season to date, Pauley is averaging a 1.5 household rating, making it 87th out of 156 syndicated shows, but it is the second-highest-rated of the eight freshman first-run strips behind Insider.

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