Talkshow host Jerry Springer resigned Thursday from his controversial four-day stint as a commentator for WMAQ Chicago.
In a letter to WMAQ general manager Lyle Banks, Springer said the debate surrounding his commentaries had become too personal. “It’s probably not worth the flak,” Springer said. “Have you seen me do sports?”
Banks also issued a statement saying the station regrets the personal attacks Springer has endured. Following Springer’s hiring, WMAQ anchor Carol Marin quit the station in protest. Banks however, maintains Marin’s departure was unrelated to the hiring of the talk host.
“It was truly unfortunate that the beginning of his tenure as a guest commentator was unfairly associated with the departure of Carol Marin,” Banks said. “The headlines were filled with insinuation that we had chosen Mr. Springer over her. That simply was not the case. Carol had discussed her desired departure with us several months preceding this turn of events.”
Springer isn’t the only one being attacked because of the commentaries. The station has suffered viewer backlash as well. Ratings for the newscast have dropped significantly since Springer joined the show. On Wednesday, WMAQ’s 10 p.m. newscast fell to a distant second-place 9.2/15, off eight share points from its “Law & Order” lead-in. Rival WLS’ newscast rated a 16.9/28, up 11 points from its lead-in. Third-place WBBM rated an 8.4/14.