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    Jerry Springer Quits News Job

    Jerry Springer's stint on WMAQ-TV news in Chicago didn't last long. After only two shows as commentator, the trash-talk show host quit, saying he feels isolated and unhappy over the criticism he's received since coming on board.

    "This is my happiest day in a week," Springer admitted after his announcement. "Enough is enough."

    Springer came under fire for the first commentary he gave on May 5, in which he said as mayor of Cincinnati he approved a parade permit for a group of neo-Nazis. Springer is Jewish. In fact, in Cincinnati, the mayor doesn't approve or reject such permits--the city manager or his designee does. Springer says that doesn't change the point he was trying to make on free speech. "So it wasn't my signature on the permit," he said. "This whole thing has gotten so out of hand. Now it's gotten into character assassination."

    So, Springer is going back to his day job--hosting a talk show with topics that range from "Pregnant Women in the Sex Industry" to "My Boyfriend is a Girl." He says he was never formally hired by the station and "can't do it anyway" due to demands of his talk show. WMAQ president Lyle Banks says the station accepts Springer's decision and "regrets the personal attacks he has endured."

    Perhaps Springer's departure will pave the way for the return of longtime anchor Carol Marin, who quit WMAQ over his hiring last week. Marin had called Springer "the poster child for the worst television has to offer" and "a symptom of a larger, more serious debate" over the direction of TV news. Springer, in his May 5 commentary, referred to Marin's action as "elitist snobbery" and a "stepping stone to martyrdom."

    (Updated May 8 at 6:30 pm)

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