Warner Saunders to retire

Warner Saunders, a veteran of NBC-owned WMAQ-TV’s news team for 28 years, is expected to retire in May 2009.

Saunders currently anchors the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts with Allison Rosati, and they’ve been anchoring at 10 p.m. since 1997, when both Ron Magers and Carol Marin exited WMAQ after the Jerry Springer debacle (Marin has since returned.)

Saunders will relinquish his 5 and 6 p.m. duties in December, and exit the 10 p.m. newscast after the May sweeps.

No word on a replacement for Saunders, but there is strong speculation that Bob Sirott may be considered for the early fringe newscasts. Sirott appeared on the station’s 6 p.m. newscast Monday, in a segment on managing finances.