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Posts Tagged ‘Sue Simmons’

Remembering Jessica Savitch, 30 Years After Her Death

SavitchJessicaIn the early 1980s, with cable in its infancy and network anchors dominating the airwaves, one of the most identifiable, and beloved, was NBC’s Jessica Savitch.

A pioneering woman in broadcasting, Savitch was only 30 when, in 1977, fresh from local TV news jobs in Philadelphia and Houston, NBC News hired her to cover Congress.  Savitch went on to be the first woman to anchor a weekend newscast for NBC, and perhaps was best known for her highly-visible primetime ’news capsule’ updates. Her rocky personal life made headlines too.

But it all came to an end on a rainy autumn night in 1983, when the car Savitch was in plunged into a Bucks County, Pennsylvania canal, killing her and the car’s driver, 34-year-old Martin Fischbein, a vice president at the New York Post.

As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of that day – October 23 – TVNewser reached out to friends, family, and colleagues for their memories of Jessica Savitch, who was just 36 when she died.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “Jessica Savitch was a warm-hearted, caring person and a pioneer in broadcasting who lost her life tragically just as she was soaring to new  heights. She was my friend at KYW in Philadelphia and my office mate at NBC in Washington. I was privileged to know her and mourn her loss, along with friends and family, so many years later.”

Former KYW Co-Anchor Mort Crim, who delivered the eulogy at Savitch’s funeral: “Her untimely passing was a loss to me, personally, and to the world of TV journalism. I’ve worked with many talented people, but none who could surpass Jess for a combination of ability, sensitivity and drive…An agent for Will Farrell contacted me a few weeks ago as Anchorman II was nearing completion to remind me that Jess and I had been the inspiration for the first Anchorman movie…Jess was 25 years old when we first shared an anchor desk.  But the years fly by swiftly and she would now be 65, something I can hardly believe. I still miss her.”

NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “It was such a sad, even tragic ending, to a life that was the classic American success story. Jessica had a wide following of admirers, first in Philadelphia and then on the network – and just when she seemed to have found personal happiness, the untimely end.”

After the jump, thoughts from Sue Simmons, Fred Francis, and Linda Ellerbee…plus Lori Savitch on the journalism scholarships that honor her sister thirty years later.

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Fox Fan Night, and Honoring Sue Simmons, at New York’s Citi Field

It was a big media day at the ballpark Friday night. In addition to being Fox Fan Night at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets with the first pitch thrown out by Bill O’Reilly, the team also gave a shout out to Sue Simmons. After 32 years, Simmons anchored her final newscast for WNBC. The Mets — Sue’s team — marked her departure on the scoreboard before the game.

TVSpy has more on Simmons’ final newscast including a video compilation. And here’s Fox & Friends Saturday’s coverage of Fox Fan Night:

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Life after WNBC for Sue Simmons

After news Wednesday that Sue Simmons — who made up half of one of the longest-running local news anchor duos in the nation — was being cut from WNBC, we got this in the tipbox:

Maybe CNN will hire Sue Simmons and pair her with Jack Cafferty. They could call the show, “Live at Five…Four Central…Two Pacific”

That’s a nod to one of the iterations of WNBC’s “Live at Five” when Cafferty and Simmons shared the anchor desk in the mid-1980s. The screengrab, above, shows the two along with Don Pardo who did live talent introductions and other voice overs. At the time, Al Roker did the weather and in later years Simmons shared the “Live at Five” anchor desk with Matt Lauer.

Sue Simmons Out at WNBC

  • Brian Williams anchoring on WNBC

    Brian Williams is anchoring the 1pm hour on WNBC in New York giving a break to the local anchors who’ve been on the air for more than 24 hours.

    “Brian we want to thank you for joining us in our News 4 newsroom,” said meteorologist Janice Huff. “Well it was a journey of four entire floors on the elevator, happy to be here Janice.”

    Williams traces his local news roots to WCBS in New York where he was an anchor/reporter from 1987-1993.

    Williams also went on WNBC’s 11pm newscast last night too with Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons . “You came down here with what in mind?” asked Simmons. “Spend time with colleagues. Commiserate about the sorry state of our weather,” said Williams. Video after the jump.

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