Following a day of video tributes to her, the moment finally came Friday night: Simmons would anchor her last newscast at WNBC, ending a 32-year run at NBC’s flagship station. And she did it with the same humor and unpredictability that have endeared her to so many viewers.
At times during the 11 p.m. newscast, Chuck Scarborough, Simmons’s longtime co-anchor, whose dapper outfit for the occasion was punctuated with a bright pink pocket square, looked like a nervous parent teaching his kid to drive–he was ready to grab the wheel when it appeared that Simmons may veer the newscast in a regrettable direction.
Simmons, whose contract was not renewed, definitely got her shots in despite Scarborough’s best efforts to keep things moving.
After Scarborough read a story about Nik Wallenda‘s tightrope walk across the Niagara Falls, Simmons added, “I think I’m ready for a walk off Niagara Falls.” And following meteorologist Janice Huff‘s warm weather forecast, Simmons said, “I’ll have plenty of time to enjoy [it].”
The newscast culminated in a video tribute that Scarborough had put together, which featured interviews with WNBC alums Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Jack Cafferty. In an odd twist, Scarborough’s tribute was immediately preceded by an ad promoting job opportunities at the station.
When it came time for Simmons to bid farewell in the final seconds of the newscast, she took the opportunity to emphasize that she plans to keep working.
“This is it for me here at this station,” Simmons said. “[I] hope to be employed elsewhere at some point, even if it’s maybe just once a week.”
At which point, Scarborough reached over and tapped her arm.
“Okay, we gotta go,” Scarborough told her. “For the last time.”
Here are the highlights from Simmons’s final WNBC newscast…