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OUTTAKES THE SEQUEL

Hartley Talks

November 29, 1987|Leonard Klady

"If you're asking what happened, I don't know. I don't think anyone will ever know the truth. I certainly know that my ego often took a beating."

Mariette Hartley was finally talking candidly about her experience co-hosting and leaving CBS' "Morning Show," which had its final airing Friday after perpetually ranking third in its slot. She actually departed two weeks earlier to appear in writer-director Ernest Thompson's "1969," now filming in Georgia, leaving a workday that started at 4:30 a.m. and often went past midnight.

"I think we won over the public, but never licked our problems with the corporation, press and, they say, the affiliates," Hartley said. "I've been told that the show was also financially successful. They were losing $15 million a year because they couldn't sell advertising and we turned that around--we put them in the black."

Ultimately, she was squared off opposite the CBS brass. "I maintained the show should be more relaxed and they wanted something hyperkinetic. I felt like a waitress on roller skates. They said they wanted me , but what they wanted was who they thought I was."

Characterizing her role on the show as the "everywoman," Hartley said she got pigeonholed in the "soft news" slot rather than choosing it. "What I was exposed to was extraordinary and exhilarating but also very frustrating because we were playing catch-up--there wasn't enough time to rehearse the show prior to going on air and we had to make our own time to get to know one another."

Hartley told us she'll keep her base in NYC until July but hopes to return there next year with a one-woman show she's been developing with writer Ann Meyer. "We think it's really original in form--as far as content, all I can say is it's whimsical, autobiographical and about the kid inside us all."

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