The Creator Of The Save Sue Simmons! Tumblr Explains His Campaign, Affection For Sue

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This week New Yorkers learned that beloved foul-mouthed WNBC anchor Sue Simmons' contract would not be renewed. Now the whisperings as to who is going to be taking her place are already starting. But the reaction to the news of Simmons' impending departure was impassioned. The Times even chronicled the Twitterverse's cries. Our very own Michael Musto explained
his adoration on his blog. From celebrity anguish -- Martha Plimpton! Alec Baldwin! -- to good old-fashioned internet crusading a chorus rang out condemning NBC for giving up an icon. We emailed some questions to the man behind the Save Sue Simmons! Tumblr -- 26-year-old New York native and Columbia graduate student Ryder Kessler -- to hear why he took to the web to fight for Simmons. Read his responses after the jump.

Why did you decide to make the Save Sue Simmons Tumblr?
I was devastated when I heard that Sue's contract wasn't being renewed -- she's been a part of my New York City life for literally as long as I can remember -- and I knew that I wouldn't be alone in that sentiment. Within ten minutes I had the Tumblr set up: clicking a few buttons and sharing my affection for Sue Simmons was the least I could do to give voice to all the New Yorkers who want Sue to stay on the air for as long as she wants.

What is the response you've gotten?
The response has been really encouraging: within twelve hours of my starting the Tumblr, it was getting mentioned by the New York Times and New York Observer alongside the celebrity tweets and Facebook pages that had sprouted up in support of Sue, and I was getting lots of messages from other disappointed fans. There's clearly a groundswell of support for WNBC keeping her on the air, and it's fantastic that the ease of speaking up on social media is letting Comcast hear that message.

What had been your favorite Sue story so far?
It's hard to pick just one, but the overwhelming message is that Chuck and Sue are central to so many New Yorkers' experience of the city. Especially for those of us who grew up here within the last 30 years, they're like our TV parents -- in our living rooms every day, making us laugh in lighter moments and somberly delivering the serious news when necessary. I've heard from people who shed tears when they heard Sue's contract wasn't being renewed. They want to speak up for this path-breaking woman who has been a part of their city landscape for decades, and I'm glad to be giving them a place to do that.

How long do you plan on keeping this going? What do you hope the end result is?
I'll keep going until Sue's contract is renewed -- or at least until Sue herself announces that she's happy to call it quits. After over 30 years as a beloved city icon, she's earned the right to decide when to step aside.

What do you think about the Sue critics, who say it was her "antics and massive paycheck" that were responsible for her termination? See here.
Say it ain't Sue! I can't know what's happening in the newsroom, but I tend to think the "antics" line is overblown. And it's disconcerting that Chuck and Sue are both 68, but it's the woman whose contract is being dropped. If Sue is less inclined than Chuck Scarborough to make appearances away from the anchor desk (another complaint I've heard), why not lower their base salaries a bit and then pay per appearance?

Comcast should realize they have a tremendous asset in New Yorkers' investment in Chuck and Sue and trade on that. I've read, too, that their ratings are up, a rarity for local news today. I've heard from a lot of people who say that without Chuck and Sue on air together, they'll have no reason to keep watching WNBC as opposed to one of the other local newscasts. Her salary is high, but you can't buy iconic status, name recognition, and trust -- especially in New York.

[EstherZuckerman / ezwrites]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.


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Loyal Sue Simmons Viewer
Loyal Sue Simmons Viewer

Sue and Chuck are the only reason I watch WNBC News.  If Sue is gone in June, so am I. 

Miskim23
Miskim23

I will continue to watch WNBC new as long as the feisty, intelligent, witty SUE SIMMONS is on WNBC. If Sue Simmons is let go, there ends my  loyality!  WNBC will be just like the rest...boring, no character, no personality! Sue is serious professional and serious when required and hilarious when we all need that bit of hilarity!

Sgstarseed45
Sgstarseed45

WNBC Staff Pissed About "Inaccurate" NY Post StoryAnd staying on the NBC beat....Yesterday FTVLive posted a story from the New York Post about WNBC anchor Sue Simmons and her "$5 million a year salary"....The Post story has many WNBC staffers seeing red. Sources tell FTVLive that a number of newsroom staffers at WNBC are furious at station brass for the management-fed character assassination of beloved anchor Sue Simmons in Thursday's New York Post. The story was filled with anonymous quotes from "station executives," "direct managers,"  and other bosses. It painted a picture of an old, disinterested Simmons, and even insinuated she has an alcohol problem. Except nothing in the article is true. And now station employees worry that if management could pull a hatchet job like this on a 32 year employee who is number one in the ratings, what could they do to the rest of the staff?The article quoted management sources as saying Simmons earns $5 million per year. Insiders tell FTVLive that "number is preposterous."Sources say that Simmons' pay was cut last year when she was taken off the 6PM news. The decreased work load reflected her decreased pay. Why else would Chuck Scarborough continue to anchor the 6PM news solo? You would think if NBC paid Simmons $5 million dollars per year they would ask her to do as many shows as possible. The 6PM ratings could sorely benefit from the team of Chuck and Sue. But Sue's current contract is about less work for much less pay. Nonetheless, management allowed the Post to print the unheard of salary of $5 million per year.The article says her bosses feel Simmons' salary is "absurdly inflated." Yet this is the same management that agreed to this salary, so why all of a sudden the outrage?The article says management feels that Simmons had been "phoning it in." Insiders say that this is the same management that knows that after the recent deaths of Etta James and Whitney Houston, Simmons was phoning in tips and setting up interviews with heavy hitters in the music business. (Simmons' father was a well known jazz musician in New York.)The Post story claims that her "direct managers complained that if they cut her, they could save other jobs." This argument is specious because the NBC O&O's are in a major expansion. People are being hired, not fired. Also, it would be stupidly naive for Simmons' "direct managers," news director Susan Sullivan and GM Michael Jack to think that the money saved from a talent cut would automatically go back to the news department to be used elsewhere. Finally, the article insinuates that Simmons has a drinking problem. The fact is that she has never been taken off the air or been told to go home because anyone suspected she was drunk. (The famous YouTube cursing incident happened when she thought the promo was being recorded, and wasn't told it was being done live, which is out of the ordinary).Newsroom employees are shocked at the way management is treating Simmons.Stay tuned as the fallout of firing Simmons continues to cause big problems for WNBC and their image.

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