Now, I like Jane Pauley as much as the next Doonesbury fan, but the cult of Jane worship is getting out of hand. Media coverage of Pauley and her new five-show documentary series makes it seem as if some combination of Mother Teresa and Susan B. Anthony had deigned to work in TV news.
Let’s put things in perspective. Jane Pauley is a person who comes across well on television. She’s intelligent, she reads a Teleprompter smoothly, she has a good sense of humor, she’s attractive, and she was treated like dirt by those bozos on the Today show. She’s not a martyr and she’s not Edward R. Murrow — but then Murrow is overrated anyhow.
Like its host, Real Life With Jane Pauley seems honest and unpretentious, and it doesn’t try to pass itself off as tough investigative journalism. So far, Real Life has done a good job of profiling families under everyday siege — the exhaustion and guilt of working parents, the confusion and anger of children caught between day-care and ”quality time.”
Place this show in the context of its competitors, and Real Life comes off well: Wouldn’t you rather watch Pauley examining the lives of interesting middle-class people than see Barbara Walters or Connie Chung fawning over another batch of bored celebrities? B