This Anchor's Away
THOUGH SPRINGER'S TALK SHOW ranges far, wide and low for its topics (sample: I Strip with My Family), the list has never included bashing the host. If it ever does, the first guest would have to be Carol Marin, until last week a news-anchor fixture at Chicago's NBC affiliate, WMAQ-TV. On May 1, Marin resigned on-air at the end of the 10 p.m. newscast—which she had coanchored for 12 years—to protest the station's hiring of Springer as a periodic commentator. "His shows are the bottom of the television news chain," explains Marin, 48, who in 19 years at WMAQ won 15 local Emmys. "With Springer we've crossed a line. The commentary isn't important; it's the shock value of it."
The outburst certainly shocked Springer, 53, a former mayor of Cincinnati, who cheerfully admits his own syndicated show is "stupid, silly, outrageous." Before taking to the air on May 5 with a two-minute discourse on the First Amendment, he leveled his own broadside at Marin. "She missed Journalism 101: Free Speech," says Springer, once an Emmy-winning Cincinnati news anchor himself. "Who the hell does she think she is?" In fact many of Marin's coworkers say she's a principled reporter who walked out on a roughly $1 million-a-year contract, running through 1997, rather than share airtime with Springer. "She doesn't have a big head or drive a fancy car," says WMAQ producer Don Moseley. "All she wants to be is a reporter."
A day after she left, WMAQ fielded over 3,000 calls, mostly supporting the Chicago-born Marin, a married mother of two sons, 9 and 11. Not that she's likely to be out of a job for long. "I plan on working," she says. "I don't know where." As for Springer, his first day at WMAQ included facing protesters—which bothered him not a bit. "They can hold their noses," he says of critics, "but they can't shut my mouth."