IT'S A SWEEPS MONTH, WHEN TV personalities pull outlandish stunts to entice viewers. Paula Zahn, the congenial cohost of CBS This Morning, went above and beyond the call of duty, volunteering for a week of Marine boot camp at Parris Island in South Carolina.
Recruit Zahn, she insists, got no preferential treatment from the drill instructors. "You see me get ripped apart," she says. "When they start barking within 1/8 inch of your eardrum, it's really intimidating. You can see me cowering and my lip quivering.' Segments on the rigorous training air all week (Feb. 13-17).
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the time Paula spent among the few and the proud is that she enjoyed the cuisine. "It's the same stuff I eat at the CBS cafeteria every day," she maintains. (Wait until Letterman gets wind of this.) She even brought home some field rations to snack on. "I actually like them," she says. "Of course you're talking to someone who's not very talented in the kitchen."
That's not all she brought back from Parris Island. She has a whole new language. "I don't go to the bathroom anymore, I make a head call," she says. "I don't go to sleep anymore, I hit the rack. I answer everyone, 'Aye, Sir!' It's driving everyone around me crazy."