Connie Chung's network television career has been with ABC, CBS, NBC, and
CNN. Chung was a Washington D.C. based correspondent for the CBS Evening News
with Walter Cronkite in the early 1970s, during the Watergate political scandal.
Later, Chung left for the Los Angeles owned and operated station of CBS, KNXT
(now KCBS). Moving to the nation's second largest (and highest paying) local
news market, sunny southern California, was a smart career move, since popular
local news anchors like KABC's Jerry Dunphy, Christine Lund, amd KNBC's Paul
Moyer and Kelly Lange and Tritia Toyota were pulling in million dollar annual
This is where her real breakthrough in television news came, anchoring the evening news program. On June 1, 1993, she became the second woman (after Barbara Walters) to co-anchor a major network's national news broadcast (with CBS). The teaming did not prove a commercial success. After her unsuccessful co-anchoring stint with Dan Rather, Chung began to do independent interviews—a field which would soon become her trademark.
As an interviewer, Connie Chung displayed a distinct style. Her interrogations were largely casual and gentle, but would often be punctuated by a rapid-fire barrage of sharp questions. Despite this, her interviews were still widely recognized as being decidedly softer than those of other interviewers, such as Barbara Walters or Mike Wallace. Consequently, her interviews were often used as a PR move by those looking to overcome scandal or controversy. Some of her more famous interview subjects include Claus von Bülow and Congressman Gary Condit.
She faced controversy when, on an interview with Kathleen Gingrich, mother of conservative politician Newt Gingrich, Connie Chung convinced her to give opinions about Hillary Clinton on the air. The controversial part was that Chung compromised her journalistic integrity by telling Ms. Gingrich the conversation was "just between you and me". Her last interview of consequence was with Gary Condit, on his relationship with murdered Washington D.C. intern Chandra Levy.
Connie Chung briefly hosted her own show on CNN entitled Connie Chung Tonight. Though her arrival at CNN was heavily hyped by the network, her show was not popular with critics. She was criticized for awkward interviews and somewhat superficial news coverage. CNN changed her show from live to pre-taped to make it flow better. Although it did moderately well in the ratings, her show was suspended once the 2003 Iraq War began. During the war, her only role was to read some headlines. Once CNN resumed regular programming, Chung requested that CNN resume broadcasting her show as soon as possible. The network responded by cancelling it, even though her contract had not yet expired. In an interview, CNN founder Ted Turner called the show "just awful."
Even when not in the public eye, Chung has been lampooned regularly (especially for her current lack of a journalistic career) on the FOX television series MADtv, with Korean-American comedian Bobby Lee playing Chung in drag. The news reporter character Trisha Takanawa on the animated television series Family Guy may be a caricature of Chung as well.
Connie Chung became the center of unwanted media attention in the 1990s as
she and her husband tried unsuccessfully to have a baby. Ultimately they adopted
Regarding her family heritage, Connie Chung once joked that she "would try to trace her family roots...but how do you look for family in an area of a billion people who all look alike?" in a self-deprecating play on Asian stereotypes.
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