Jane Pauley is an American journalist, television anchor, host as well as author. She has been a household name in her country ever since she began co-hosting the ‘Today’ show on the network NBC. Pauley made her beginnings in television as an anchor on several major news networks in her home state of Indiana. Subsequently, she was chosen to co-host the ‘Today’ show on NBC in 1976. Soon after giving birth to twins in 1986, Pauley became a symbol to look up to for working mothers all over the country. Pauley co-hosted the ‘Today’ show for 13 years before settling down and making the occasional appearance on television in order to spend more time with her growing family. Pauley then hosted ‘Changes’ a successful primetime series on NBC. She also went on to co-host the newsmagazine show ‘Dateline’ for almost 12 years. Pauley is currently the anchor of the CBS Sunday Morning show on the CBS network. She is a women’s rights and political activist. Pauley has instituted several healthcare centers for the underprivileged in her home state of Indiana.
Early Youth & Life
Jane Pauley was born on October 31, 1950, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her parents were Mary Pauley, a homemaker and part-time musician who performed the organ at church services once a week, and Richard Pauley, a salesman who worked for the Wilson Milk Company.
Jane Pauley has one older sister called Ann, who she regards as her closest friend and who she looked up to as a young child.
In 1968, she received her high school diploma from Indianapolis’ Warren Central High School. Throughout her time in school, she earned multiple speech and debate championships. Pauley later enrolled at Indiana University, majoring in political science and joining the group “Kappa Kappa Gamma”.
After graduating from college, she landed her first position as a reporter for the Indianapolis network affiliate WISH-TV in 1972.
She spent three years at WISH-TV before joining veteran reporter Floyd Kalber at Chicago’s WMAQ-TV in 1975. She became the first female nighttime news anchor in Chicago.
She was chosen to replace Barbara Walters on the NBC “Today” program after a mere 10 months at WMAQ-TV. Pauley joined the “Today” Program when she was just 25 years old.
Career of Jane Pauley
Tom Brokaw served as Pauley’s first co-anchor on the Today Show from 1976 to December 1981. Bryant Gumbel then started collaborating with her on January 4, 1982. In addition, Pauley presided over the Sunday version of “NBC Nightly News” from 1980 to 1982.
After having twins, Pauley in 1983, rose to fame as a representation of working moms. The public and media carefully followed her pregnancy.
After Deborah Norville was granted a bigger role in the two-hour broadcasts in 1989, rumors that she would replace Pauley began to circulate. Jane Pauley made the decision to leave the Today show in October 1989 in order to devote more time to her three children.
The Today show’s viewership had decreased by 10% since 26 January, according to a 26 February 1990 New York Times report. In the top network rating rankings, it also dropped to second place, trailing ABC’s Good Morning America. One of the key contributors to the show’s rating decline was observed to be Pauley’s absence.
According to a 23 June 1990 New York Magazine article, the Today program lost an estimated $10 million between February 1989 and February 1990 as a result of a 22% drop in ratings. Back from the Brink, Jane Pauley Has Become America’s Favorite Newswoman was the title of the story.
After she announced her departure from the Today show, she got nearly 4,000 letters from fans. She was referred to as the “heroine of his age” in one of these letters from Michael Kinsley.
Soon after making her announcement, Pauley attracted considerable media interest. She appeared on the covers of two magazines: Life in December 1989 and New York Magazine on July 23, 1990. Life referred to her as “The Chosen One” on that cover.
She made a comeback to television on NBC’s “Changes: Conversations with Jane Pauley” primetime program on March 13. According to a 15 March 1990 article in The Washington Post, this primetime special received a 13.3 national Nielsen rating value and a 24 percent viewer share.
In 1990, Pauley co-hosted the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards with Candice Bergen and Jay Leno. During this time, she also started filling in as the NBC Nightly News presenter.
Following the popularity of her primetime special “Changes,” NBC unveiled five one-hour specials titled “Real Life with Jane Pauley” for the summer of 1990. These five programs received high ratings, and in January 1991, a second half-hour series with the same name debuted. However, this program was discontinued in October 1991 after only one season of broadcasting.
On March 31, 1992, Dateline, the newest newsmagazine program from NBC, premiered. Pauley and Stone Phillips co-anchored the program from 1992 to 2003. During this time, she was the host of the half-hour program “Time and Again” that aired on MSNBC. Pauley decided not to renegotiate her soon-to-expire deal in 2003. NBC was caught off guard by this choice.
The Jane Pauley Show was hosted by Pauley in 2004, marking her comeback to television. The talk program was a syndicated series that NBC Universal distributed to other networks. Pauley referred to it as the “proudest year of her life” despite the fact that the show did not perform well and was eventually canceled after only one season.
After the termination of her show, Pauley appeared on several television shows, including “Depression: Out of the Shadows,” a half-hour program on PBS. It debuted in May 2008. Pauley participated in President Obama’s 2008 campaign in her native Indiana.
In March 2009, Pauley returned to hosting a weekly segment called “Your Life Calling” on the Today program. This prompted Pauley to publish “Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life,” which became her second New York Times best-selling novel.
For a special reunion episode of the Today show on December 30, 2013, Pauley, and her former Today show co-host Bryant Gumbel, former Today show anchor Matt Lauer, and current weather anchor Al Roker got together.
After making an appearance in the “where are they now” segment of the CBS Sunday Morning program on April 27, 2014, Pauley started contributing as a correspondent and fill-in host. Pauley’s replacement as host of the CBS Sunday Morning show was revealed on September 25, 2016. Charles Osgood, who was leaving, was to be replaced by Pauley. On October 9, 2016, she took over as host of the Sunday Morning program.
Recognition & Accomplishments
In 1990, she received the “Glamour Lady of the Year” honor.
Pauley was enshrined in the Radio and Cable Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 2002, she received a Primetime Emmy award for ‘Best Story in a Newsmagazine’ for her work on ‘Dateline’.
For her CBS News Sunday Morning show, Pauley received a Daytime Emmy Award in 2015 for “Outstanding Morning Program”.
Radio and Television News Directors Association presented her with the Paul White Prize for “Lifetime Contribution to Journalism” for her work.
Pauley received the Walter Cronkite Award for “Excellence in Journalism” and the Edward R. Murrow Award for “Outstanding Achievement” in television news.
Awarded by American Women in Radio and Television, the Gracie Allen Prize recognizes an individual’s outstanding achievement.
Personal Influence & Life
Pauley married cartoonist and “Doonesbury” comic strip author Garry Trudeau on June 14, 1980. Ross, Thomas, and Rachel are the couple’s two boys; they also have a daughter. They have two grandkids as well.
Both the Indianapolis-based “The Mind Trust” and the New York City-based “Children’s Health Fund,” both nonprofit organizations that support innovation and change in education, have Jane Pauley on their boards of directors.
Pauley is a member of the Ambassadors Council for Freedom From Hunger, a nonprofit group whose mission is to reduce severe hunger worldwide.
In her native Indiana, she contributed to co-founding the Jane Pauley Community Health Center. Without taking into account their financial situation or insurance coverage, the center provides medical care to residents of the neighborhood.