No more pain for ‘Jane’

Yakker silenced after one season

NBC Universal TV Distribution has put “The Jane Pauley Show” out of its misery, canceling the syndicated series as of September despite firm two-year deals with stations through 2005-06.

The series never clicked with a mass audience after starting off poorly in late August. Some of the stations that had counted on “Pauley” to funnel lots of viewers to the early-evening newscasts ended up downgrading the series to morning time periods when not enough people tuned in to watch it.

The national Nielsens of the Pauley show were marginal, but in many of the large markets its performance was nothing short of dismal. Critics faulted Pauley’s failure to connect to the studio audience; she had never previously hosted a show that required her to interact with a live audience.

All of the NBC-owned TV stations except WRC Washington will in effect replace the Pauley show with NBC U’s “The Martha Stewart Show,” a new five-a-weeker premiering in September and slated for morning time periods.

The end of the Pauley show on non-NBC-owned stations could open a window for Sony Pictures TV’s “The Robin Quivers Show,” which is on the bubble. Sony hasn’t announced any station deals yet for “Quivers,” but the company said it hasn’t given up yet on launching it for the 2005-06 season.

NBC U plans to produce the Pauley show through April so that its May-sweeps programs will be all original. The summer will be taken up with repeats.

In a statement, NBC said it was “very proud of the quality of work” the staff put forward during the season. Pauley herself, in a separate statement, praised “the incredible commitment of a staff of talented people.”

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