Pauley 'Leaps' Ahead

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NBC Enterprises has been busy this summer, adding nine major markets to its list of clearances for The Jane Pauley Show, which premieres in fall 2004.

Besides WNBC-TV New York, KNBC-TV Los Angeles and KNSD(TV) San Diego—all NBC-owned stations—NBC Enterprises has added six ABC affiliates, two NBC affiliates and one more NBC-owned station to its roster.

The ABC affiliates include Fisher's KOMO-TV Seattle and KATU(TV) Portland, Ore.; Allbritton's WJLA-TV Washington, and KTUL(TV) Tulsa, Okla.; and Scripps Howard's KNXV-TV Phoenix and WEWS(TV) Cleveland. The two NBC affiliates are Scripps Howard's KSHB-TV Kansas City, Mo., and Cordillera's WLEX-TV Lexington, Ky. And KXAS-TV Dallas is the other NBC-owned station.

NBC would not confirm any time periods. Company executives have said they are shooting for early fringe time slots, although some stations will air the show in the morning. NBC Enterprises executives also have been positioning the show as a rival for King World's Oprah, but several ABC affiliates, including WJLA and WEWS, already carry Oprah. King World has extended Oprah's contract through 2008.

Linda Finnell, senior vice president of programming for NBC Enterprises, also has been looking for an executive producer for the show. Finnell has begun interviewing candidates in New York City, where the show will be taped. Finnell hopes to have an executive producer in place by fall, to give NBC plenty of time to develop the show before next year's launch.

The Jane Pauley Show will tape at 30 Rockefeller Center in studio 8G, where The Today Show was shot when Pauley began hosting the show in 1976 at age 26.

Now, half a life later, Pauley is reinventing herself at 52 as the host of her own daytime talk show. During a rambling speech last week to advertisers at the Family Friendly Programming Forum Symposium in Los Angeles, Pauley promised: "I will not exploit unhappy people. I will not crowd the margins of decency."

She also reported that upon hearing about her new endeavor, husband Garry Trudeau, who writes the political cartoon Doonesbury, said: "My wife is entering a new chapter of her life. After 26 years at NBC, she made the courageous leap to an entirely different division of NBC."

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