For 32 years, Sue Simmons has been teamed with Chuck Scarborough, forging an on-air partnership for the ages at WNBC/Channel 4. But that’s apparently going to be history in a matter of months. The New York Post’s Cindy Adams reports that the 68-year-old Simmons’ contract is not being renewed and she learned about the career-altering news last week.
Adams, who has remained friends with Simmons since she was a contributor on Live at Five in the 1980s, says this was entirely NBC’s decision, adding that Simmons, a four-time Emmy winner would have gladly re-upped.
Scarborough, whose contract also expires in June, got a new three-year package as the station’s lead anchor. That will keep him busy until he’s 71.
In January, Simmons returned to the air after missing two months from back surgery. However, she was greeted with the 11 p.m. newscast only, opposite Scarborough. Gone was the 6 p.m. that Scarborough still flies solo.
At the time, a station spokesperson told FishbowlNY that it was Simmons’ decision to gradually ease herself back into the flow. But Adams says Simmons was “bounced” from the 6 p.m.
Adams says Scarborough even tried an 11th-hour appeal to keep his 11 p.m. co-anchor. But this went way beyond 30 Rock. She implies this decision was made in Philadelphia by the brass at NBC’s new parent company, Comcast.
Earlier this year, Chuck and Sue were selected by FishbowlNY readers as the city’s favorite all-time anchor team. It’s no accident as their chemistry led to the longest running team in New York City history.
Of course, infamously, their chemistry occasionally backfired. During a live tease for a late newscast in 2008, Simmons scolded and cursed Scarborough. She apologized a short time later to viewers.
But the Harlem native has remained a popular figure with New Yorkers.
Update: The Channel 4 statement.
“We have tremendous respect and admiration for Sue Simmons. For decades, Sue has been a critical part of New York’s longest tenured anchor team in the city and has more than earned her iconic status. We have been engaged in ongoing conversations with Sue about her transition from WNBC and will continue to work with her on plans to celebrate her many contributions to WNBC and the New York market.”