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Pauley at the 2012 Time 100
Margaret Jane Pauley
October 31, 1950
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|Garry Trudeau (1980-present)|
Margaret Jane Pauley (born October 31, 1950), known as Jane Pauley, is an American television journalist and author, active in news reporting since 1972. She is the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning. Pauley previously held a 13-year position on NBC's Today program, followed by 12 years as co-host of Dateline NBC. She has publicly acknowledged her struggle with bipolar disorder.
Jane Pauley was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 31, 1950. She is a fifth-generation Hoosier and the second child of Richard and Mary Pauley. Her father was a traveling salesman, and her mother was a homemaker. In her memoir, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue, Pauley described herself as such a shy little kid she allowed her second-grade teacher to call her Margaret Pauley all year rather than tell that she preferred her middle name, Jane. Pauley grew up idolizing her older sister, Ann, who has been her closest confidante since childhood.
After graduating from high school in 1968, Pauley attended Indiana University, majoring in political science. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma where she sang with the sorority jug band, the Kappa Pickers.
After three years at WISH-TV, in 1975, Pauley joined veteran anchor Floyd Kalber at NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV to become Chicago's first woman co-anchor on a major evening newscast, marking the beginning of her career with NBC. Barely 10 months later, at the age of 25, Jane was chosen to replace Barbara Walters on the Today show.
Pauley co-hosted the Today show from 1976 to December 29, 1989; first with Tom Brokaw from 1976 to December 1981 and then with Bryant Gumbel beginning January 4, 1982. She also anchored the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News from 1980 to 1982. Following in the footsteps of the first female co-anchor of the show, Barbara Walters, she became a symbol for professional women, and more specifically, female journalists. In 1983, after giving birth to twins following a very public pregnancy, Pauley became a role model to working mothers. In her autobiography, And So It Goes, Pauley's colleague Linda Ellerbee wrote, "She [Pauley] is what I want to be when I grow up." The Detroit Free Press wrote on September 27, 1989, that Jane Pauley in some ways represents the best of women in television, that she never took it too seriously, that she knew the difference between television and real life, and that her family counted more than her ratings.
1989 brought big changes to Today when news reader Deborah Norville was given a larger role in the two hour broadcast. Speculation in the media implied that NBC executives were easing Pauley out to advance the younger NBC newscaster. As Tom Shales of The Washington Post wrote at the time, watching Ms. Pauley, Ms. Norville, and co-anchor Bryant Gumbel on the set together "is like looking at a broken marriage with the home-wrecker right there on the premises."
Pauley, who had been contemplating a change, hoping to spend more time with her three children, asked to settle her contract, but NBC declined. In October 1989, after prolonged negotiations, Pauley announced that, after 13 years, she would leave the Today show in December, but would soon begin working on other projects at NBC. Public reaction amid the perception that Pauley was being cast aside for a younger woman was swift and consequential. As The New York Times reported on February 26, 1990, in the three weeks since January 26, the Today show lost 10 percent of its audience. Since Jane Pauley left as co-host and Deborah Norville replaced her, the Today show had fallen from its leadership position in the competition among the three network morning shows to a distant second place, almost a full rating point behind ABC's Good Morning America.
A July 23, 1990 New York Magazine article entitled "Back From the Brink, Jane Pauley Has Become America's Favorite Newswoman" reported that from February 1989 to February 1990, Today experienced a ratings slump of 22% and the cost to the network and its affiliates was estimated by one insider at close to $10 million for the year.
After Pauley announced she was leaving Today, she received more than 4000 letters of support, including one from Michael Kinsley, then of The New Republic, which anointed her "heroine of my generation. The first Baby Boomer they tried to put out to pasture ... and failed."
Pauley's image was run on the cover of many magazines those months, including the December 1989 cover of Life magazine with the headline "Our Loss, Her Dream: How Jane Pauley got what she wanted - time for her kids, prime time for herself".New York Magazine dubbed her "The Loved One" on its July 23, 1990 cover.
Always intrigued by change, Pauley's return to the air on NBC came in the form of a primetime special appropriately titled "Changes: Conversations with Jane Pauley," which aired on March 13, 1990. As she said during the introduction, "Change is not always an option. Change is not always the right choice. But change is almost always the most interesting." According to The Washington Post, March 15, 1990, the one-hour broadcast won its 10 p.m. time-slot Tuesday with a 13.3 national Nielsen rating and a 24 percent audience share.
The success of Changes begat five one-hour specials the summer of 1990 called "Real Life with Jane Pauley". They were also ratings hits, and in January 1991 NBC launched the half hour series Real Life with Jane Pauley on Sunday nights. The show was cancelled after one season in October 1991.
On March 31, 1992, NBC launched Dateline, its 18th attempt at a newsmagazine. Pauley co-anchored Dateline from 1992 to 2003 along with Stone Phillips. Dateline made its own news on February 9, 1993, when at the end of a regularly scheduled edition of Dateline, Pauley and Phillips delivered a public apology to General Motors on behalf of NBC as part of the settlement of a lawsuit regarding the failure to disclose the use of an incendiary device in a story about the safety of a General Motors pickup truck which aired on Dateline on November 17, 1992. Neither Pauley nor Phillips had any connection to the segment; an internal investigation resulted in the resignation of the NBC News president, along with the dismissal of Dateline's executive producer and others involved with the GM story. Dateline survived, went on to thrive, and at one point was on the air five nights a week.
In addition to her Dateline responsibilities, Pauley also anchored Time and Again, a half hour show airing on then-fledgling MSNBC that recounted major news stories with footage from the NBC News archives.
In 2003, Pauley surprised NBC by declining to renegotiate her expiring contract. Explaining her decision, Pauley said at the time, "I think women think a lot about cycles, biological and personal. This year another cycle came around: my contract was up. It seemed an opportunity to take a life audit. I keep walking by bookstores and seeing titles talking about second acts in life."
Ironically, Pauley's decision to leave Dateline resulted in the offer of a daytime talk show. In 2004, Pauley returned to television as host of The Jane Pauley Show, a syndicated daytime talk show distributed by NBC Universal. Although The Jane Pauley Show never gained traction in the ratings and was canceled after one season, Pauley called it the hardest - and proudest - year of her professional life. "To try something that you've failed at is, in my experience, proving that you had the guts to try."
The same year Pauley launched her talk show, she published her bestselling memoir, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue, in which she made public her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Pauley is quoted as saying her decision to talk openly about the disorder is "the easiest decision I ever made." In the edition of January 20, 2014 of Time magazine she says that "Part of my advocacy is not talking about the stigma. It's real, but it doesn't help move us forward. My other message is, I take my meds every day. No holidays. I've not had a recurrence."
Following the show's cancellation, Pauley's appearances on television included leading a half-hour discussion on PBS's Depression: Out of the Shadows, which aired in May 2008. She also campaigned publicly for President Obama in her home state of Indiana in 2008, a year when she was not affiliated with any network news organization.
In March 2009, Pauley returned to the Today show as a contributor hosting a weekly segment, "Your Life Calling," sponsored by AARP, which profiled people throughout the country age 50+ who were reinventing their lives in new and different ways. The award-winning series was on the air through 2013 and culminated in Pauley's second New York Times best-seller, Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life.
On December 30, 2013, Pauley, former Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, former Today anchor Matt Lauer, and current weather anchor Al Roker (who was live in Pasadena, California) reunited to co-host a special reunion edition of Today.
On April 27, 2014, following an appearance during a "where are they now" segment and interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Pauley began contributing to the show as a correspondent and occasional substitute host. Pauley has been a guest host on CBS This Morning and has also filled in for Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News. It was announced on September 25, 2016, that Pauley would take over as host of CBS Sunday Morning following the retirement of Charles Osgood. "We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her on Sunday Morning," said Rand Morrison, the show's executive producer, in a statement. "Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on Sunday Morning permanently. And - as is so often the case, they were right. She's a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist. But - every bit as important - she's a delight to work with. A worthy successor - and a perfect fit."
Pauley began her role as host on October 9, 2016, nearly 40 years to the day since her debut on Today.
Pauley is the recipient of multiple[vague]Emmy Awards as well as the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Inducted into the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame in 1998.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Rana and Ken Purdy Award.
Pauley serves on the board of directors for the Children's Health Fund in New York City and is a member of the Board of Directors of The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based non-profit organization that supports education innovation and reform.
In 2009, Pauley lent her name to the Jane Pauley Community Health Center, a facility in collaboration between the Community Health Network and the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Indiana. The center serves the local community, including students and their families, regardless of insurance or income, with an emphasis on integrating medical, dental and behavioral health. There are 15 centers, most on the east side of Indianapolis where Pauley grew up.
| The Today Show co-anchor
October 11, 1976 - December 29, 1989
| Dateline NBC co-anchor
| CBS News Sunday Morning anchor
October 9, 2016 - present