Who is Connie Chung?
Connie was born Constance Yu-Hwa Chung on 20 August 1946, in Washington, D.C., USA. She’s an American journalist who gained prominence as a news anchor and reporter, and has had a distinguished career spanning several decades, working for major news networks such as CBS, NBC, and ABC. Connie is the first Asian-American and one of the first women to anchor a major network newscast in the US.
Early Life and Education
Connie is the youngest of ten children in a family of first-generation Chinese immigrants. Before coming to America, Connie’s father, William Ling Chung, worked as an intelligence officer for the Chinese Nationalist Government. The family fled to the US after WWII, which took the lives of five of Connie’s siblings.
Growing up in a Chinese family during the 1950s meant that Connie was expected to become a wife and a mother, and adhere to traditional values. However, as she had no living brothers, she took it on herself to carry on the Chung name, and build a career for herself.
Connie graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1969, with a degree in journalism. She was one of the few Asian Americans in her class, a reality that would reflect her professional life, as she often found herself as one of the few women, and particularly Asian women, in her field.
Career as a Journalist
During a summer college internship, Connie observed reporters and developed an interest in journalism. This led her to change her major to journalism that fall, and she was particularly drawn to the expanding realm of TV journalism, which greatly influenced her future career.
After graduating college, Connie became a correspondent for the CBS Evening News, and covered the Watergate scandal which led to the resignation of Richard Nixon from the Presidency of USA. In the following years, she moved to KNXT, CBS’ sister network based in Los Angeles, California, where she received praise for her work at KNXT, helping the network establish itself as more respectable and politically neutral.
In 1983, Connie joined NBC as the anchor of their morning news program, “NBC News at Sunrise”, and also became a rotating anchor of “NBC Nightly News”. Six years later, Connie rejoined CBS, this time as the host of her own show “Saturday Night with Connie Chung”, while also anchoring the “CBS Sunday Evening News”.
In 1993, Connie made history when she became the first woman to co-anchor “CBS Evening News”, as well as the second woman to anchor one of America’s major network newscasts. Her groundbreaking role at CBS, coupled with her innate ability to report with compassion and precision, made her a household name.
TV Guide Cover 25 Years Ago This Week, June 5-11, 1993: Connie Chung of the ‘CBS Evening News’ pic.twitter.com/dozoQGXHg0
— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) June 6, 2018
During her time at ABC, she was a reporter and cohost of “20/20”, alongside Charles Gibson. She notably conducted an interview with the former politician Gary Condit, following the murder of his Washington D.C. intern, Chandra Levy.
In 2002 and 2003, Connie briefly hosted a news magazine show on CNN entitled “Connie Chung Tonight”, part of CNN’s prime time line-up and aimed at providing in-depth interviews and analysis of current news events and topical issues. It followed a traditional talk show format, featuring one-on-one interviews with newsmakers, politicians, celebrities,and experts from various fields. Although Connie’s arrival at CNN was hyped by the network, her show was poorly received by critics, had relatively low ratings, and was ultimately put on hold at the start of the 2003 Iraq War and didn’t make a comeback once CNN returned to regular programming.
In January 2006, Connie joined her husband, Maury Povich, as a co-host of “Weekends with Maury and Connie” on MSNBC, which would end in July of the same year, marking the end of Connie’s long and largely successful career. During the last episode Connie, sang a parody of Bob Hope’s song “Thanks for the Memory”, dressed in a white night gown and while dancing on top of a piano. The video of her unusual performance went viral on YouTube, drawing a lot of confused reactions. Connie later clarified that the act was a joke – a ‘giant self-parody’.
Throughout her career, Connie faced various controversies that stemmed both from her professional work and her status as a female journalist in a predominantly male industry.
One of the most significant interviews Connie did for CBS was with Kathleen Gingrich, the mother of 50th speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich. The segment caused major controversy due to Connie’s question about what her Newt thought of the US First Lady at the time, Hillary Clinton. After Kathleen suggested that it wouldn’t be appropriate for air, Connie told her to just whisper it to her, ‘just between you and me’. Kathleen’s response ‘he thinks she’s a bi**h’, however, made it to air and sparked discussion of ethics in journalism.
Connie’s interview with Magic Johnson in 1991 also sparked controversy. Johnson, a beloved basketball star, had recently announced that he was HIV-positive. This interview was seen by many as groundbreaking for helping destigmatize HIV, however, some saw it as intrusive and overly personal, and there was criticism regarding how Connie handled this sensitive topic.
In April 1993, Connie was caught in another scandal, in the wake of Oklahoma City bombing. She was widely criticized for perceived sarcasm as she asked the spokesperson of Oklahoma City Fire Department ‘Can the Oklahoma City Fire Department handle this?’ Following the public outcry and numerous protest letters sent to the network, Connie left CBS and eventually joined ABC news in 1997.
One of the most notorious moments from Connie’s time at CNN was her interview with the Czech-American tennis player, Marina Navratilova, during which Navratilova criticized the US political system. Connie proceeded to label her remark as ‘un-American’ and suggested that she should ‘go back to Czechoslovakia’, despite the fact that Navratilova had been a US citizen for over two decades, and that Czechoslovakia had ceased to exist nine years prior.
Impact and Legacy
Connie’s impact on the world of journalism is undeniable, and she broke many barriers paving the way for many who came after her. She’s known for her courage and determination to get to the heart of the story, and her interviews often made national headlines.
In the 1980s and 1990s, she became a cultural icon among Asian Americans, who were rarely represented on TV. As a testament to her popularity, many Asian women born at the time bear the name Connie.
Unfortunately, Connie often had to deal with a toxic work environment, especially during the early years of her career. In 2018, Connie sent an open letter to Christine Blasey Ford, published in “The Washington Post”, revealing her experience as a sexual assault victim and giving credit to Ford for her courage to share her testimony against Brett Kavanaugh.
Where is She Now?
As of 2023, Connie is no longer in the public eye as much as she once was. She left full-time broadcasting in 2003 after her show “Connie Chung Tonight” was taken off air by CNN. However, she occasionally makes appearances on television and continues to be a respected voice in journalism.
In 2007, Connie and Maury Povich launched “Flathead Beacon” a weekly local paper in Flathead Valley, Montana, which has since grown to have over 20 employees and remains active to this day.
Since retiring from TV journalism, Connie has made appearances in TV shows such as “The Colbert Report” and “The View”. In addition, she’s played herself in several movies and TV series, including “House of Cards”, “Fresh Off the Boat”, “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine”, and “The Undoing”.
Connie is married to Maury Povich, a popular television talk show host best known for his show “Maury”. The couple wed in 1984 and have one adopted son together, Matthew Jay Povich. Connie and Maury are recognized as one of the most enduring couples in the industry, maintaining their bond amidst the challenges and pressures of their high-profile careers.
Although Connie’s exact net worth isn’t publicly disclosed, it is estimated to be more than $80 million, as of May 2023.
Who is Connie’s Husband, Maury Povich?
Born Maurice Richard Povich was born on 17 January 1939, in Washington D.C., he’s a renowned figure in American television, known for his long-standing career as a talk show host.
Raised in Washington, D.C., Maury had an early introduction to the world of journalism through his father, Shirley Povich, who was a well-respected sportswriter for “The Washington Post”. It was perhaps this familial tie to the world of reporting that later influenced Maury’s own path in the media industry.
After earning a degree in journalism from the University of Pennsylvania, Maury began his career as a radio reporter at WWDC. His talent for connecting with listeners led to his rise in the industry, and he soon transitioned to television.
He started working as a host on various local and national newscasts, but it was his role as the host of “A Current Affair” in 1986 that really brought him national recognition. The show was a mix of celebrity gossip and impactful human-interest stories, and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from the critics.
However, Maury’s career defining moment came in 1991 with the launch of his eponymous talk show, “Maury”, which quickly became a staple of American daytime TV. Known for its candid discussions on personal and societal issues, the show is perhaps most famous for its paternity tests, and the phrase ‘You are NOT the father!’ which has since become a cultural catchphrase, further solidifying the show’s place in American pop culture. Despite the show’s often controversial content, Maury’s compassionate approach to storytelling and his respect for his guests set him apart in the world of talk shows.
Maury announced his retirement in March 2022, after hosting “Maury” for 31 years. The impact of Povich’s work remains present on today’s TV, and he’s still frequently referenced in movies and TV series.
As of May 2023, Maury’s net worth has been estimated at more than $80 million.