Sue Simmons

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Sue Simmons
Born (1942-05-27) May 27, 1942 (age 79)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.

Sue Simmons (born May 27, 1942)[1] is a retired news anchor who was best known for being the lead female anchor at WNBC in New York City from 1980 to 2012. Her contract with WNBC expired in June 2012 and WNBC announced that it would not renew it. Her final broadcast was on June 15, 2012.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Simmons grew up in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village; her father was John Simmons, a jazz bassist whose contemporaries included Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Lena Horne and Nat King Cole.[3]

She graduated from Julia Richman High School in 1961 and decided to work instead of going on to college.[4]



She began her career as a consumer action reporter at WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut. She was with WBAL-TV in Baltimore from 1974 to 1976 where she was an anchor for the station's Action News and Baltimore At One broadcasts. From 1976 to 1980 she was a reporter and anchor at WRC-TV in Washington, DC, an NBC owned-and-operated station.[5]

From 1980 to 2007, she was a co-anchor for WNBC's Live at Five news broadcast. She worked with several co-anchors, including Jack Cafferty, Tony Guida, Matt Lauer, Dean Shepherd, Jim Rosenfield, Perri Peltz, and David Ushery. In 2007, Live at Five broadcast for the final time.[6] Weeknights at 11 p.m.,[7] she co-anchored with Chuck Scarborough. On March 7, 2012, WNBC announced that it would not renew its contract with Simmons; the contract expired in June.[8][9] Simmons' final broadcast was on June 15, 2012; she received farewells from long time co-workers, as well as numerous sports figures and celebrities.[2] Simmons was replaced on the 11 p.m. newscast by Shiba Russell.[10]

Chuck and Sue (as they were known in New York) were together since Simmons' arrival at WNBC—the longest run for an anchor team in New York City television history.[11] She was one of the highest paid local anchors in New York, making $5 million a year.[12][13]

Simmons was referenced in the song Traffic and Weather by the power pop band Fountains of Wayne.[14]

On June 23, 2017, Simmons returned to WNBC for a tribute to Gabe Pressman, longtime reporter for the station who died earlier in the day at age 93.[15]

On-air profanity[edit]

On May 12, 2008, as a live news teaser was played, Simmons was heard loudly exclaiming, "The fuck are you doing?" It was later revealed that her remark was directed at distracted co-anchor Chuck Scarborough.[16] She later apologized on-air for her inappropriate language.[17][18] The incident has been mocked in several sketches on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman.[19] The clip was later featured in a 2021 episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.[20] Simmons has stated that she was normally notified proactively when the show was broadcasting live, because she had a reputation for being caught on the air during candid moments. On that particular occasion, she had not been notified, and she uttered the profanity while attempting to get the attention of Scarborough, who was preoccupied with his computer.[21][22]

Back surgery[edit]

In November and December 2010, Simmons was away from her job while she underwent back surgery.[23] On January 3, 2011, she returned to work. However, when she returned from surgery she was no longer a part of the 6 p.m. newscast and only co-anchored the 11 p.m. newscast.[24]


Sue Simmons made her acting debut as herself in the fourteenth season premiere episode of the NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[25] Simmons went on to guest star as herself on NBC comedy series 30 Rock. She has also appeared in other television series and films in the role of a newscaster, including: The First Wives Club (1996), Exiled: A Law & Order Movie (1998) and Elementary (2012).

Year Title Role Notes
1996 The First Wives Club Newscaster
1997 Destination Anywhere Newscaster
1998 Exiled: A Law & Order Movie Newscaster Television film
1999 Light It Up Newscaster
2012–13 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Newscaster (herself) Recurring role; Episodes: "Lost Reputation", "Above Suspicion" and "Funny Valentine"
2012 30 Rock Newscaster (herself) Episode: "My Whole Life Is Thunder"
2012 Elementary Newscaster Episode: "The Leviathan"


  1. ^ "Sue Simmons tells 'Joy Behar: Say Anything!' she cried in the final days: 'I didn't think it was going to end, but it did'". Daily News. New York.
  2. ^ a b Good, Dan (June 16, 2012). "Sue Simmons says goodbye after 32 years as Channel 4's anchor". New York Post. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  3. ^ "Sue Simmons". NBC New York. Archived from the original on November 17, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  4. ^ Cahalan, Susannah, "The ‘Live!’ and times of TV’s legendary anchor Sue Simmons", The New York Post, March 11, 2012.
  5. ^ Krystal Knows!!! - Sue Simmons news anchor for nearly thirty years
  6. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (July 28, 2007). "WNBC-TV in New York to End 5 P.M. Newscast, New York Times, July 28, 2007". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  7. ^ "Sue Simmons - Anchor". December 14, 2011. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  8. ^ "WNBC: 'We Have Tremendous Respect and Admiration for Sue Simmons'". Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Barron, James; Stelter, Brian (March 7, 2012). "Veteran TV Anchor Sue Simmons Is Losing Her Job". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Barmash, Jerry (June 18, 2012). "WNBC Names Shiba Russell as Sue Simmons' Replacement at 11 p.m." Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  11. ^ Jen Chung (January 7, 2005). "2005 article on the 25th Anniversary of their pairing". Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  12. ^ "New York's Salary Guide 2005". September 26, 2005. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  13. ^ Kaplan, Don (March 8, 2012). "Simmons' $5M salary, 'antics' led to WNBC ditching her: sources". New York Post.
  14. ^ "Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather Lyrics". MetroLyrics. January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "New York Legend Gabe Pressman Dead at 93". WNBC. June 23, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Thielman, Sam (May 22, 2008). "WNBC shuffles news anchors". Variety. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  17. ^ "Sue Simmons tells 'Joy Behar: Say Anything!' she cried in the final days: 'I didn't think it was going to end, but it did'". Daily News. New York.
  18. ^ "Sue Simmons Wants to Know What the F**k You Are Doing". New York Magazine. May 13, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
  19. ^ Shea, Danny (May 22, 2008). "David Letterman's Views on Sue's Slip!". Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  20. ^ Eck, Kevin. "HBO Host John Oliver Targets Local Stations' Sponsored Content Practices". Ad Week (May 24, 2021). Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  21. ^ Sue Simmons explains why she dropped the f-bomb. YouTube. October 17, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  22. ^ "Sue Simmons reveals the story behind her on-air obscenity". Daily News. New York.
  23. ^ Barmash, Jerry (November 8, 2010). "Veteran WNBC anchor recovering from back surgery". Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  24. ^ "4 NY News at 11 - Sue Simmons recovering from back surgery (12-22-10)". December 23, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  25. ^ Starr, Michael (August 8, 2012). "Sue Simmons makes acting debut playing herself on 'Law & Order: SVU'". New York Post. Retrieved August 8, 2012.

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