Cynne Simpson arrived in Atlanta nearly ten years ago to the fourth-place CBS Atlanta affiliate, unknown and green on the anchor desk.
She left Atlanta in 2007 for an anchoring gig in D.C. at the ABC affiliate, which she held for more than five years. There, she interviewed Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Muhammad Ali, to name a few, and hosted red carpet coverage at the Oscars. (Read more here.)
But when she had a chance to come back to Atlanta this year, she jumped at the chance.
Now Simpson is evening anchor at the more popular Fox 5 affiliate WAGA-TV, replacing Amanda Davis, who was arrested last fall with charges of DUI and reckless driving. The cops at the time said Davis crashed her Fiat into another vehicle going northbound on a southbound street. Davis was suspended, then retired in the spring. Her case is still pending trial.
"It's been such a smooth transition," Simpson said in a recent interview. "I love it here. I love the community. I love the climate. I love the restaurant scene. This is where I was meant to be."
She works side by side with veteran anchor Russ Spencer. "He's the best," she said. "He's such a professional. Rush brings a lot of swagger. Ken Cook [the meteorologist for more than 25 years there] invited me to a birthday party as if I've been part of the family forever. I'm grateful I'm coming into an environment where there's so much mutual appreciation and respecct."
Being on a station seen more people has had an impact already. In just a few weeks, people are recognizing her in church.
She lived off Cascade Road in southwest Fulton County her first time in Atlanta. This time, she chose Sandy Springs. "There is so much to explore," she said. "I remember when I was here the first time and Mayor Shirley Franklin said the crane should be the state bird. There's so much construction going on now. It's fun to see." (While in D.C., she missed the trough of the economic and real estate bust here.)
Simpson recently had lunch with Monica Pearson, the recently retired Channel 2 Action News anchor. "She's mentored me for years, even before I came to Atlanta the first time," Simpson said. "She continues to check in and she is always telling me she's proud of what I've accomplished. She is such a trailblazer. I'm in awe of what she's achieved in her career."
A worldwide traveler and fluent Spanish speaker, she is a Howard University graduate.