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John Drury departing WLS-TV

Chicago TV news fixture John Drury will retire next spring from the anchor desk at WLS-TV.

Drury, 74, signed a five-month extension to his contract, set to expire in December, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He will stay with the newscast through May sweeps. Under his new deal, he will host two news specials each year through 2004, and make occasional appearances.

Emily Barr, general manager of the ABC-owned station, said Drury's replacement will come from existing staff.

Sun-Times TV columnist Robert Feder picked Ron Magers, who was an anchor at Chicago's WMAQ-TV but left in 1997 over the Jerry Springer-commentary flap, as the favorite. - Dan Trigoboff