Geraldo Demands Respect

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Forget the punch in the nose; forget the empty Al Capone vault; never mind those daily bouts of empathy with suburban dysfunction... Geraldo Rivera is a serious news guy. And if NBC won’t recognize Geraldo's gravitas by granting him air-time on the news shows of its flagship network, then he’s going to accept an offer from Fox’s cable news channel.

“Fox is a very natural fit for Geraldo,” says TIME correspondent Richard Zoglin, “because they share a real tabloid orientation and he’ll give them the personality they so desperately need.”

As he awaits NBC’s counter offer, the issue for Geraldo isn’t money; it’s status: Fox is offering him an anchor role on a nightly news program, a temptation which NBC has thus far resisted. Whatever the outcome, Zoglin believes Geraldo’s ultimatum reflects a classic American tale: “This is a guy who couldn’t get a network job ten years ago, so it’s a pretty dramatic comeback story.” Who said Kato Kaelin is the only one who owes his career to O.J.?