In light of Sue Simmons saying she wants to work again in her farewell broadcast at Channel 4, the question becomes, where might we see her next?
Simmons ended her incredible run at WNBC on June 15 announcing that she would like to be “employed elsewhere at some point.” The longtime anchor added that she’d be interested even if it’s once a week.
The viewing public, by and large, has opposed WNBC’s decision to terminate the veteran anchor. Just look at any of the comments from our FishbowlNY stories, and you’ll see overwhelming support for Sue.
While FishbowlNY is not acting as her agent in the process, let’s evaluate the possible suitors for Simmons.
WCBS/Channel 2, it would appear, has the no vacancy sign flashing at the Inn weeknights. However, if Simmons would double her once a week request, a weekend slot with veteran newsman Don Dahler could prove beneficial for all parties.
At this point, Dahler does the nightly newscast by himself, after working mornings with Cindy Hsu. Dahler is the consummate pro in front of the camera, but those brutal split shifts take their toll. Dahler will make the occasional flub that would seem to be directly related to sleep deprivation.
Adding Simmons to the mix gets her back on a major station, and helps ease Dahler’s weekend workload.
Furthermore, bringing Simmons into the WCBS family could mean work at sister station WLNY, launching a WCBS-produced evening news broadcast next month. But as WCBS management told FishbowlNY in April, there is the potential for expanding the WLNY 10/55 in prime time.
Moving on down the dial, Fox’s WWOR/Channel 9 might have the most to gain. A “Sue Simmons” joining the weeknight newscast would legitimize a traditionally “also-ran” broadcast.
Across the river, sister station WNYW/Channel 5 poses the most “out of the box” selection.
After 32 years sitting next to Chuck Scarborough, how about forming another partnership of New York institutions, “Ernie and Sue?” Ernie Anastos as a high-visible TV news personality in New York predates Simmons by two years. He joined WABC/Channel 7 in 1978, thus making him a main go-to anchor ever since.
Although not privy to any contract details, the Dari Alexander/Anastos chemistry, at times, can be strained. Think back to the infamous “plucking the chicken” remark. It made it to the fore thanks to Alexander’s “deer in the highlights” reaction. Imagine Simmons sitting next to Anastos for that one.
By contrast, Simmons created her own controversy with the “What the ‘f’ are you doing?” line during a live teaser.
Granted, WNYW is the clear winner at 10 p.m. against WPIX. But in a business that never rests on its laurels, an injection of Simmons could only help going forward.
Any station would not just be adding a legend of Simmons’ caliber, it would likely get legions of loyal fans in the deal.