Friday, June 15, 2012

Rant #758: See You, Sue

Today is Sue Simmons' final day as news anchor for WNBC-TV Channel 4 in New York.

Most of the rest of the country outside of the New York Metropolitan Area probably doesn't know who Sue Simmons is, but to people on the East Coast, it is safe to say that a legend leaves the airwaves today.

It's not by her own design; her contract, after 32 years, is not being picked up.

Since 1980s, she has been paired with Chuck Scarborough as news anchors on the station. And what a pairing it has been!

He, the handsome, waspy, straight forward newsman, she is ethnic, pretty, bubbly, funny, and also, extremely talented one.

She came to the station while in her late 30s, and leaves it as she approaches 70. There are so many memories during her 32 years at the station that it is hard to choose just one.

Simmons was the perfect person to lead the then-red hot "Live at Five" show, a pioneering showcase for not only news, but also for features and entertainment.

Her engaging personality helped catapult the show to lofty heights. At one time, it was the news show to watch in New York City, the place to be and to be seen.

After that concept ran out of steam, she and Scarborough continued to handle the news with much aplomb ... most of the time.

One major gaffe in later years was when Simmons let out an expletive for all to hear on the air.

But it was Sue Simmons, one of the most popular news personalities in New York, so all was forgiven pretty quickly.

And viewers have ridden her ups and downs as if we were all her next door neighbors.

She has had off and on health problems, most recently back surgery, but she has always bounced back.

But not this time.

WNBC announced in March that her contract would not be renewed, and today, one of the longest tenured anchor teams in local news history will end its historic run.

Scarborough, who came to the station a few years earlier than Simmons, just had his contract renewed, so he isn't going anywhere.

But what will happen to Simmons once all the tributes run out today?

For one of the few times in her life, she has been quiet, keeping mum on this. The daughter of a jazz musician isn't tooting her own horn on her future, but I will bet she turns up somewhere, maybe not on a regular basis, but I bet we haven't seen the last of her.

Thanks, Sue, for all the memories, the ups and downs, the gaffes, the guffaws, and everything else.

It has been quite a run, hasn't it?

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