NEW YORK — NBC Enterprises plans to shoehorn “The Jane Pauley Show” into the 3 and 4 p.m. slots, the most lucrative time periods in talkshow syndication.
Ed Wilson, president of NBC Enterprises, officially announced that Pauley’s first foray into syndication after a 23-year career at NBC (first as co-anchor of “Today,” then as anchor-correspondent for “Dateline”), will kick off in September 2004 on a combination of cash and barter.
Pauley will also write two books for Random House, the first a memoir due in the bookstores next year and the second, called “Now, Begin,” a volume co-authored with her sister Ann.
The downside of getting early-fringe time periods for Pauley is that it will put her head-to-head with the still-popular Oprah Winfrey in many markets. Wilson said Pauley has greater name recognition than Dr. Phil, whose show has become a runaway hit in its first year in syndication. But King World’s contract for “Dr. Phil” prohibits a station from playing the show in a time period that directly competes with Oprah.
NBC-E is leaning toward doing one-year deals instead of two or more, Wilson said, on the premise that if the show delivers an audience, he’ll be able to harvest big increases in license fees for year two and beyond.
Wilson is also inclined, he said, to offer the Pauley show exclusively to stations, with no simultaneous cable window to potentially pull viewers away from the syndicated edition.