…but at least we can pay her tribute on her final day, tomorrow!
According to this Newsday article, Sue will be honored all day during WNBC’s broadcasts. Check out the full schedule and set your DVRs (and line up your boxes of tissues).
NBC 4 New York is planning a daylong tribute to Sue Simmons marking her final day on the air on Friday, June 15. Sue has been a part of many memorable moments in New York history, and we’re going to look back at some of those and her contributions to them.
-The on-air tributes will start with Today in New York and go throughout the day on all of our newscasts, at noon, 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.
-Every newscast on News 4 New York on June 15th will feature moments with Sue over the years. Viewers will be able to see highlights’ from Sue’s career and salutes from current and former colleagues and well-known New Yorkers.
-The solutes will feature clips — past and present, interviews with some of Sue’s former co-anchors, and memories about Sue from celebrities and notable figures in our region.
-The tributes will culminate on News 4 New York at 11 with a special look back at Sue’s career. Chuck Scarborough had been working with a team of our producers to create a memorable video presentation for Sue.
Even if this is the last we see of Sue on the local news, it certainly won’t be the last we see of Sue!
Chuck without Sue is like Abbott without Costello or Laverne without Shirley — hard to comprehend. But, still, it’s worth celebrating Chuck’s long tenure on WNBC given how indelible the mark is that he and Sue have left on New York news.
Michael Jack is the General Manager of WNBC. Let’s all leave comments on his WNBC bio page demanding that he renew Sue’s contract!
Write your own sentiments or use this message:
Sue Simmons is a local news legend and a priceless asset to WNBC. Without her on the air beside Chuck, countless New Yorkers will have no more reason to watch the station they’ve been loyal to for decades. After over 30 years as a beloved city icon, Sue Simmons has earned the right to decide when to step aside. Renew her contract now! #SaveSueSimmons
Somehow we missed this fantastic NY Post column by Linda Stasi that was published a couple of days after the news first broke about Sue’s non–contract renewal. We’ve all complained about Sue getting the axe at age 68 while Chuck finds his contract renewed, but Stasi adds irons to the fire with a bunch of disturbing numbers of male/female age differences in the news:
So, big salary aside, Simmons got the boot at 68, while her same-age co-anchor, Chuck Scarborough, who you know makes at least what she makes, lives on — to be paired with a younger, sexier co-anchor.
While Sue is considered past her prime, WNBC still employs Gabe Pressman at age 88!
Why is no one in TV news looking at the rest of TV?
…there’s Barbara Walters (82) and Joy Behar (69) of “The View,” the most popular female talk show on TV.
Yet, as well-informed and experienced as these two women are, they’d never get news jobs sitting next to CBS’s Bob Scheiffer, who is 75.
Then, there’s Ernie Anastos on Fox, who, at 69, is paired with Dari Alexander, who is 42 years old.
We don’t care about Sue’s age — we want her on the air cause she’s the best anchor in New York! She comes back from vacation tomorrow, and hopefully it’ll be about time for WNBC to sit up and listen to the chorus of New Yorkers demanding that they save Sue Simmons.
Business publication Crain’s New York is running a poll on its website about whether sacking Sue Simmons is a good business move for WNBC. Of course it isn’t! Vote-casters agree — go add your voice to the chorus!
I can’t believe I missed this video until now: Chuck and Sue celebrating their 32nd anniversary! It’s fantastic and has some great flashbacks through their many, many years side-by-side behind the anchor desk.
Here are some more lovely messages I’ve received from fans of Sue devastated by her imminent departure (unless WNBC wises up and changes course!). Hopefully seeing messages like these will keep mobilizing New Yorkers — and fans elsewhere — to join the cause!
Goodness I almost fell out of my chair when I heard the news and I could have sworn that I felt a teardrop rolling down my face. Sue Simmons has been a staple on News 4 New York since 1980… What is so heartbreaking is that her non-contract renewal comes after viewers voted her and Chuck as the best news team on FishbowlNY and that the 11pm slot finally made gains in the 25-54 demographic. I cannot live without her groundhog, I cannot live without her amazing ability to conduct interviews, I cannot live without her chemistry with whoever she has worked with over the years… We are going to win this battle, keep praying that she stays.
When I heard the news I shed a few tears. I love her and whenever I’m in New York I always watch her. I will really miss her and not to forget her great impressions of the groundhog on February 2nd. Thank God I have a few pictures of her doing it. When I’m back in New York on June 4th, I will shed some more tears when I watch the 11PM news.
Keep sending in your own Sue memories and favorite moments!
Note: messages have been slightly edited for length and style.
Both are worth reading in full, but here’s the key takeaway from Kitman’s paean to Sue:
We in New York love Sue because she’s a smart, sarcastic, sassy, funny chick, compared to the usual vapid, vain but gorgeous newsperson. She is the successful single older aunt who wisecracks her way through Thanksgiving and Passover dinners that everybody wishes they had. If she didn’t exist, we would need to invent her.
The New York Post today has a lovely recap of Sue’s career highlights, discussing her impact on both the New York news landscape and on her colleagues at 30 Rock. You should all read the whole thing — and post it on Facebook and Twitter and email it to your friends — but here are some highlights.
Like a true New Yorker, Sue’s kindness matches her candor:
If it wasn’t her quick wit or unyielding New York toughness, it was her quiet generosity that endeared her to everyone at 30 Rock. She knew the first names, and life stories, of the doormen, the camera crew, the makeup artists.
TV news would look a lot different if not for Sue Simmons:
"I had a huge crush on her,” Roker admitted to The Post. “Sue swept me up and took me under her wing. I believe my career is what it is because I got to sit next to Sue Simmons.”
And the newsroom will never be the same without her:
Sportscaster Len Berman remembers being constantly stumped on air by Simmons, a rabid Met fan who would toss him obscure baseball questions.
“Sue would love to say things for shock value and love to put you off guard,” said Berman. “I used to sweat before going on the air.”
But she was the one who’d lead the daily newsroom battle cry.
“Wake up!” she’d say. “We’ve got a newscast to do!”
When will WNBC wake up to the fact that it’s crazy not to save Sue Simmons?!
Just two months ago, FishbowlNY wrapped up a poll of New Yorkers’ favorite news team of all time — guess who won?
and at number 1…was there really any surprise?
Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons — 33 percent (1980 to present)
“It’s been an extraordinary privilege sharing an anchor desk with Sue Simmons for over three decades serving our viewers in the metropolitan area,” Scarborough tells FishbowlNY. “Being chosen as their all-time favorite anchor team is both humbling and heartwarming.”
Chuck and Sue began their march toward immortality when they first sat side by side in 1980. They have been on the air longer than any other anchor team in New York City history.
Let’s keep this all-time favorite anchor team marching!
“What a huge lost opportunity. Sue is all the things TV news execs claim they need: authentic, irreverent, engaging, interesting. This is a failure of imagination on how to take advantage of an amazing talent and asset in order to build a local TV news brand that people want to watch,” said Jay DeDapper, chief operating officer of Internet video company Zazoom, who was cut by the station in 2009.
“Sadly, WNBC hasn’t been that for the better part of a decade, and this shows they have no clue about how to accomplish that,” said DeDapper.
Sure, whoever WNBC taps to replace Sue Simmons would likely do the job for somewhat less money, but can anyone fill the iconic anchor’s shoes? And would Comcast want to take the risk while Sue still wants to be in the game?
“Ask 10 people on the street if they’ve ever heard of Sue Simmons and you’ll probably get 10 people saying yes,” said [a news] agent. “Ask 10 people on the street if they’ve ever heard of Shiba Russell and they’ll probably look at you funny.”
And if network brass decides not to go with Russell? She “has a clause in her contract that mandates a $600,000 payday if she’s passed over for the coveted job, sources said.” That’s a good chunk of change down the drain if they go another way, and according to the article “the promotion isn’t sewn up yet.”
Yes, local news in a media market like New York is an expensive business — why not use the money to keep an iconic and successful team in action? Then the network can have some time to raise the profile of whoever they choose to ultimately replace Chuck and Sue (when they’re ready to go!), and we can be excited about another news team to watch for 30+ years.
It’s incredible that in about 24 hours, the total number of Sue Simmons Facebook “likes” has skyrocketed from a couple of hundred on her unofficial page (the second in this list) to almost 2,000 — and that’s just on the pages I’m aware of!
Let’s keep these numbers growing: “like” them all (especially the two with the most traction, facebook.com/savesuesimmons and facebook.com/weheartsue), post about them, tweet about them (with #savesuesimmons), email them to the family members you’ve always watched Chuck and Sue with, yell about them on street corners, keep spreading the word!
Another day of trying to save Sue Simmons, another batch of great emails from Sue fans out there. Here are a couple of more gems to keep us fired up:
…watching Simmons on WNBC was the ONLY reason I watched local news on TV over the decades. Now a dynasty has passed (rather like China’s Qing) and I’m outta there. — Anonymous
The only reason I watch Ch. 4 news is to watch Sue and her style of delivering the news and of course her quirky view on many things. She is a NY Mets fan and I believe that there is a law that a fan of the Mets cannot be let go. If it is not already on the books it should be. Please keep her on the air. We need Sue. — Vivian Carroll
Failing to renew Simmons’ contract seems to go against Comcast’s promise to the Federal Communications Commission to increase local news coverage and minority programming. The FCC approved the cable giant’s deal with NBCUniversal in 2011 contingent upon that promise…
Comcast should renew Simmons’ purported $5M contract. The pact is the most lucrative for a local TV anchor, but chump change for a company that earned $5B on $55B revenues last year. The contract buys Comcast priceless PR in the nation’s top media market. Comcast should stick with Sue.
We’ve been getting some fantastic emails from all the New Yorkers (past and present) out there who insist that NBC save Sue Simmons. (We’re not kidding about this, NBC!)
Here are a couple of the messages I’ve received so far:
"I love everything Sue represents, she’s like family now. I Look forward to her interpretation of the ground hog each and every year. If Sue goes, I’ll no longer watch NBC news, hello channel 7 (Bill Ritter)." — Keith Chase
"I was four years-old when I began watching the news. I lived with my family in Newark. So I was different from other kids… I loved watching the news. I will always fondly remember Sue and Jack Caferty anchoring my favorite show, Live at Five. As I grew older I would tell my friends ‘I’m going to be a news anchor one day.’ Well, I did eventually realize a dream, sort of, when I went to work in TV production at WNYW and then for several reality shows. I never got to anchor. And now I’m a teacher living in Dallas, TX. When my oldest sister texted me this morning ‘They canned Sue’ I didn’t have to ask Sue who? She’s been like a part of our family forever. We love you, Sue Simmons, even down here in Big D!" — Tim Hester
I was prepared to write a post acknowledging NBC’s side of the story on ousting much-loved Sue Simmons. If ratings are down for Chuck and Sue, especially compared to other local newscasts, then we can’t complain about NBC making changes if we’re not tuning in.
“Sue is beloved,” said one newsroom insider. “The ratings have been growing significantly at 11. Why change things by ousting her? It feels like a blow to the kneecap.”
So ratings are growing? Then why push Sue out before she and Chuck are ready to call it a career?
Still, if anyone at WNBC is listening/reading, think about how galvanized this team’s fan base is. Why not trade more on their magic, their history? Why not give them a social media presence and get them out in the world as ambassadors for unparalleled local news coverage?
Pat Kiernan has become a fantastic representative of NY1’s unique place in the local landscape. Sue and Chuck have been around a lot longer: they’re surrogate parents to a whole generation of New Yorkers who grew up plopped in front of Live at Five after school. Use our investment in them to bring a new generation to local news!
To get real for a second: It’s fun to rally behind this mainstay of our media landscape, but we’re also very serious about wanting Sue Simmons to stay on the air as long as she likes. There’s a seeming double standard at play when a news team of two much-loved 68-year-old anchors gets split up, and the one dropped is the woman.
Good morning! Need some inspiration to save Sue Simmons today? Just take a look at this insanely charming picture of longest-running local news team Sue Simmons and Chuck Scarborough. How could NBC want to break this couple up?!
The announcement made for an unhappy day in television land. “Fellow New Yorkers, I hope you all get that this is wrong, stupid and evil,” Mark Harris, a columnist for Entertainment Weekly, wrote on Twitter, a comment that was copied on a Tumblr page headed “Save Sue Simmons.” It talked about formulating “a complete action plan” that would “keep this beloved staple of local news on the air.”
Let’s keep going — spread the word, join the cause, save Sue Simmons!
Along with broadcast partner Chuck Scarborough, Sue Simmons has been the face of local news here in New York for literally as long as I can remember. A hard-charging, swear-dropping, before-broadcast-drinking, poker-playing, fun-loving broad, she has been exactly what this city needs as a news anchor.
As we formulate a complete action plan for how to save Sue Simmons — how to keep this beloved staple of local news on the air — the first thing we can all do is like Sue!
Though Sue Simmons doesn’t seem to have an official Facebook page or Twitter feed (correct me if I’m wrong), we can all “like” her unofficial Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sue-Simmons/116317018438274 — let’s show those bigwigs at NBC how widespread and committed her fan base is.
Other ideas? Send them to email@example.com!
Word is out that beloved 32-year NBC News mainstay Sue Simmons, half of “the longest-running anchor team in New York television history” (says Cindy Adams), has not had her contract renewed and will be off the air in June. We cannot let this stand! Sue Simmons is a New York institution, much-loved by born-and-bred New Yorkers and transplants alike.
She’s the Chrysler Building, she’s our next-door neighbor — she’s a fixed point in the urban landscape and a friendly face in an anonymous city. Spread the message far and wide: no matter what NBC says, we will Save Sue Simmons!
Share your favorite Sue memories and moments here — email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them.