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Chuck Scarborough’s 50 Years of Delivering News to New York

Good morning. It’s Monday. Today we’ll look at a local news anchor who has 50 years on the job. We’ll also take a look at some of the legal threats facing Donald Trump.

Credit…Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images

A minute or so after 6 p.m., after what television people call the “opening tease,” he will say five words that he said on his first night on the job, 50 years ago: “Good evening, I’m Chuck Scarborough.”

Scarborough has done that thousands of times, anchoring, by his count, 3,000 hours of local news on WNBC — a staggering total that stretches from the city’s financial crisis of the 1970s to the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 to the coronavirus pandemic. Eight governors have taken up residence in Albany and seven mayors have presided from City Hall while he has been at the anchor desk. Even the city’s central governing body has changed, with a City Council replacing the old Board of Estimate.

But no, he had no idea when he arrived in 1974 that he would still be at Channel 4 half a century later. “This was my fifth job in television news, fifth station,” said Scarborough, who turned 80 last year. “My average tenure in the first four was two years.”

Through blizzards and blackouts and parades and protests, he became a constant, at once commanding and reassuring. There were changing backdrops at Channel 4, including one he called “the starship set,” and there were rotating casts around him, but he survived it all. “In TV, people come and people go quickly,” Sue Simmons, his co-anchor from 1980 to 2012, said last week when I asked her about him. “It’s quite an accomplishment for him to last this long, and well deserved.”

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