Jane Pauley

Jane Pauley

Pauley at the 2012 Time 100
Born Margaret Jane Pauley
(1950-10-31) October 31, 1950
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Journalist
News reporter
News anchor
Television host
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) Garry Trudeau (1980–present)
Children 3

Margaret Jane Pauley (born October 31, 1950), better known as Jane Pauley, is an American television journalist and author; she has been involved in news reporting since 1972. She is the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning and previously best known for her 13-year tenure on NBC's Today program, followed by 12 years as co-host of Dateline NBC, and for her public acknowledgements of her struggle with bipolar disorder.[1]

Early life

Jane Pauley, born on Halloween day, 1950, is a fifth generation Hoosier, the second child of Richard and Mary Pauley. Dick Pauley, a Jimmy Stewart lookalike, was a traveling salesman for the Wilson Milk Company. Mary Pauley was a homemaker adept at figures and a proficient musician who played the organ in church every Sunday. In her memoir, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue,[2] 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 went by her middle name, Jane. Pauley grew up idolizing her older sister, Ann, who has been her closest confidant since childhood.

A speech and debate champion at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Pauley placed first in the Girls’ Extemporaneous Speaking division of the National Forensic League in Indiana. She credits extemporaneous speaking competition for her career in broadcasting. As she told an interviewer, "Looking back, the luckiest thing that ever happened to me was not making varsity cheerleader in the tenth grade. I don’t know what career I would have if it weren’t for my high school experience with forensics. It was the most important activity I had in high school or college, counting all of the academic courses." In addition to her forensic success, Pauley was Governor of Girls State and delegate to Girls Nation.

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.[3]

In 1972, after completing her college courses a semester early, Pauley auditioned for a job as a reporter at then CBS affiliate WISH-TV in Indianapolis where the news director Lee Giles told New York Magazine July 23, 1990: "She really came through the camera like nobody I had ever seen before in an audition. She had tremendous presence and like she was one with the camera."

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.

On her first official day as co-host, October 11, 1976, after being welcomed by then host Tom Brokaw, Pauley said: "Every story I’ve seen begins by noting that a year and a half ago Jane Pauley was a second string news reader in Indianapolis. That’s a fact. Well maybe you’re wondering how I got here, and maybe I am too."



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."[4]

Pauley, who had been contemplating a change, hoping to spend more time with her three children,[5] 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 and since Jane Pauley left as co-host and Deborah Norville replaced her, the Today show had fallen from its position of leadership 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.[6]

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.[7]

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 graced 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".[8] New York Magazine dubbed her "The Loved One" on its July 23, 1990 cover.[9]

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",[10] 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.

In 1990, Pauley co-hosted the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards, alongside Candice Bergen and Jay Leno[11] and began to serve as substitute anchor for NBC Nightly News.

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.

Dateline NBC

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.[12][13][14] 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 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."[15]

The Jane Pauley Show

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,[16] 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."[17]

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 January 20, 2014 edition 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."[18]

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.[19] 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.

Return to Today

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.[20]

On December 30, 2013, Pauley, former Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, current 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.[21]


On April 27, 2014, Pauley began contributing to CBS Sunday Morning as a correspondent and occasional substitute host.[22] 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."[23]

Pauley began her role as host on October 9, 2016, almost 40 years to the day from her debut on Today.


Pauley is the recipient of multiple Emmy Awards as well as the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.[24]

Radio and Television News Directors Association's Paul White Award[25] for Lifetime Contribution to Electronic Journalism.

Edward R. Murrow Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Inducted into the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame in 1998.[26]

Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual from American Women in Radio and Television.[27]

The first international Matrix Award from the Association for Women in Communications.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Rana and Ken Purdy Award.

Personal life

Pauley married cartoonist Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, on June 14, 1980; they have three children and two grandchildren.[28]

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.[29]

Pauley is affiliated with the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, where she serves on the institute's leadership advisory committee, and appeared in a 2009 video about the research mission of the institute.

Pauley is co-chair, along with Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, of the Ambassadors Council for Freedom From Hunger and a member of the board of Encore.org.[30]

In 2009, Pauley lent her name to the Jane Pauley Community Health Center,[31] a facility in collaboration between the Community Health Network[32] 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 currently 15 centers, most on the east side of Indianapolis where Pauley grew up.


  1. "Jane Pauley: Interview by Chet Cooper and Dr. Gillian Friedman". Abilitymagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  2. "Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  3. "Kappa's Oldest Continuous Chapter Celebrates 140 Years!". kappakappagamma.org. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  4. "Much To-Do at 'Today'". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  5. "Pauley: 'Today,' Family Clashed". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  6. "The Media Business: Television; NBC Losing Morning Race As Ratings of 'Today' Drop". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  7. "The Loved One". nymag.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  8. "Our Loss, Her Dream: How Jane Pauley got what she wanted – time for her kids, prime time for herself". oldlifemagazines.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  9. "The Loved One". nymag.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  10. "Changes: Conversations with Jane Pauley". tcm.com. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  11. O'Connor, John J. (September 18, 1990). "Critic's Notebook; Once Again, the Emmys Perplex". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  12. "Dateline Disaster". Ew.com. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  13. "Where NBC Went Wrong". Ew.com. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  14. "NBC Settles Truck Crash Lawsuit, Saying Test Was 'Inappropriate'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  15. "Jane Pauley Leaves NBC". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  16. "Jane Pauley Show Canceled". CNN. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  17. "Reimagine Your Life: Tips From Jane Pauley". Chicago Tribute. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  18. "10 Questions With Jane Pauley". Time (magazine). Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  19. "Depression: Out of the Shadows on PBS.com". PBS. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  20. "Jane Pauley looks at reinventing life after 50". USA Today. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  21. "Jane Pauley, Bryant Gumbel Return To Co-Host 'Today' (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  22. "Jane Pauley to join CBS' "Sunday Morning"". Cbsnews.com. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  23. "Jane Pauley Will Succeed Charles Osgood as 'CBS Sunday Morning' Anchor". Variety (magazine). Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  24. "Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism". Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  25. "Paul White Award". RTDNA. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  26. "BC Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  27. "The Gracies". Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  28. Jane Hall (October 27, 1986). "Fighting Off a Few Guilty Tears, Jane Pauley Leaves Her Kids at Home and Heads Back to Work on Today". People. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  29. Rudavsky, Sheri. "Jane Pauley, a native daughter, dedicates health center". Indy Star. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  30. "Encore.org". Encore.org. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  31. "The Jane Pauley Community Health Center". Jane Pauley Community Health Center. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  32. "Community Health Network: Hospitals, Medical Care & Services, Community Physician Network, Indiana Doctors". Community Health Network. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
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