You know who ought to sponsor "The Jane Pauley Show"? (search)
Kleenex, and not just any box of Kleenex either, but the large, family-size box — or better still, the multibox package shrink-wrapped in plastic that you buy at Costco that doesn't quite fit in the trunk of your car.
That's how many tissues you'll need to have on hand if you intend to become a regular viewer of Jane Pauley's new daytime talk show, which premiered yesterday.
Judging from the debut, Jane means to make you cry and cry and cry. And then, weep some more.
On yesterday's show, which was styled less like a real show and more like a one-hour infomercial about what "The Jane Pauley Show" intends to be, Pauley previewed a guest list heavy with those afflicted with terminal illnesses.
One woman diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (search) wanted Jane's help in leaving a videotaped message for her young son to view after her death. A camera zoomed in as Jane tenderly caressed the back of the woman's hand with her thumb.
Another guest, a woman who said she had beaten ovarian cancer, told Jane she's taken up mountain climbing to inspire other cancer patients.
Inspiration is a big part of "The Jane Pauley Show," said Jane, who several times repeated the show's intention to feature real stories about ordinary people — mostly sad stories, it seemed, although Jane insisted there would be plenty of laughter too, though there was little to laugh about yesterday.
When she wasn't introducing women with cancer, Jane gave us the his tory of Jane — from her debut on "The Today Show" (search) in 1976 at age 25 to the construction, seen in fast-motion video, of the set for her new talk show.
Among the guests who appeared for lightning-quick segments were Pauley's "best friend" — someone named Judy — and Pauley's sister, Ann, a TV producer who works on the show.
By the time it was over, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.