Ex-anchor plays herself on ‘SVU’ next season
- Last Updated: 10:27 AM, August 8, 2012
- Posted: 1:05 AM, August 8, 2012
Sue Simmons is dropping anchor into the acting world.
The former Ch. 4 newscaster, who was dumped in May after 32 years at the station, will guest-star in the two-part season opener of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU.”
In the episode, shot in late July, Simmons will play a reporter named — you guessed it — Sue Simmons, who’s first seen reporting live from the scene of a breaking scandal that’s exploding around the NYPD, the DA’s office and two rival escort agencies.
The season opener is the resolution of last season’s finale, “Rhodium Nights,” in which Capt. Cragen (Dann Florek) found a dead hooker in his bed.
“It’s a big scandal within the world we’ve created . . . there’s a dead hooker in the captain’s bed . . . and we go to a newscaster to help us understand the story,” says “SVU” executive producer Warren Leight.
“Sue opens the episode doing a news standup from outside 1 Police Plaza. We’ll bring her back for the second episode of the two-parter.”
Leight says that, when the decision was being made to cast the part by using an actor or a real newscaster, “six of us thought of Sue at the same time.
“We thought maybe she’d want to do it and she said yes immediately. She was thrilled and had a great time.”
And, he says, Simmons didn’t need much coaching.
“She was terrific. It wasn’t like she needed extra takes,” he says. “You never know what you’re going to get [when using real news people] but it wasn’t an issue with Sue.
“She also had a couple of smart corrections [in the script] as to how she would say something,” Leight says.
In particular, he says that Simmons objected to using the word “burgeoning” to identify the scandal in the episode.
The two-parter also features guest-stars Peter Jacobson, Pippa Black, Paget Brewster and Adam Baldwin and will air later next month.
Simmons, 69, has kept a low profile since signing off from Ch. 4 in mid-June after 32 years at the NBC-owned station, most of those spent co-anchoring the news with Chuck Scarborough.
She closed her final newscast by saying that she aimed to “be employed elsewhere . . . even it it’s only one day a week,” so she’s been good to her word with her appearance on “SVU.”
“Any time Sue wants to come back, it would be fun to have her on,” Leight says. “She’s a real pro. Everyone in New York has a great affection for her.
“[‘SVU’ star] Richard Belzer walked like 400 yards to shake her hand.
“The cast is used to celebrities guest-starring, but Sue caused quite a stir.”
In addition to Belzer and Florek, “SVU” also stars Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish.
The show, which premiered in September 1999, is entering its 14th season on NBC as the last of the “Law & Order” franchise shows still on the air.
The two-part season premiere kicks off Sept. 26 at 9 p.m.