Stephen M. Silverman
September 01, 2004 01:00 PM

The Jane Pauley Show, the NBC veteran’s first foray into the daytime chat world, got off to a respectable – though not quite powerhouse – start on Monday.

The show averaged a decent 2.4 household rating/7 share in the top 54 markets that measure ratings, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In New York, “Jane” managed to improve on the ratings of its lead-in, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but the numbers weren’t as thrilling in Los Angeles.

“We are pleased with the first-day numbers. She’s off to a good start,” said Sean O’Boyle, a senior vice president for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “We think of this as a marathon, not a sprint, and we expect the show to grow.”

The new show debuted a week after Pauley, 53, revealed in her new memoir, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue (excerpted in PEOPLE), that she suffered from bipolar disorder triggered by a rare reaction to prescription drugs prescribed for a simple case of hives.

“If you didn’t know me well, you might not have noticed anything strange; I was strange only for me,” the former co-anchor of Today and Dateline NBC writes. “I knew I wasn’t well, but I didn’t seem to be at a serious risk for more than some turbulence, though my doctors alluded to the possibility of a crash landing.”

Asked this week on the Today show if she might be accused of exploiting her problem as a means to grab publicity for her new program, Pauley – who says she’s now free of mood swings thanks to her treatment and to lithium – replied that she didn’t think she had to go to so drastic a measure to get attention.

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