In 1993 when Connie Chung (born 1941) became the co-anchor of the "CBS Evening News," she was the first Asian American and the second woman ever to be named to the coveted post of nightly news anchor at a major network.
Constance Yu-hwa Chung was born on August 20, 1946, in suburban Washington, D.C., to Margaret Ma and William Ling Ching Chung. Her father had been an intelligence officer in China's Nationalist Army who fled his war-torn homeland for the United States in 1944.
Chung earned a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in 1969. Her first job was with WTTG-TV, an independent television station in the nation's capital. Later she secured a job at CBS' Washington bureau, aided in part by the Federal Communications Commission's timely mandate for stations to hire more minorities. In her early years with CBS, Chung covered stories such as the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern, anti-Vietnam War protests, and the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.
In 1976, Chung moved to Los Angeles to becom an anchor at the local CBS affiliate, KNXT (now KCBS). She began hosting three news broadcasts a day, and the station went from third to second place in ratings. In 1983, she took a drastic pay cut and moved to NBC where she worked as a correspondent and anchored several shows and prime-time news specials. She also served as political analysis correspondent for the network. In 1989, Chung announced that she would leave NBC for CBS when her current contract expired. Her contract with CBS was reported to be worth $1.5 million annually. Her initial duties at CBS included hosting "West 57th," "The CBS Sunday Night News," and serving as the principal replacement for Dan Rather on "The CBS Evening News."
On June 1, 1993, Connie Chung became the co-anchor of the "CBS Evening News." She became the first Asian American and only the second woman ever to named to the coveted post of nightly news anchor at a major network, traditionally thought of as the pinnacle of broadcast journalism. In addition to her role as co-anchor, Chung began hosting "Eye to Eye with Connie Chung," a popular primetime television news magazine that highlighted interviews with controversial newsmakers, a specialty of Chung's. Her time in the limelight was limited. Her desire for higher level interviews caused a stir with the network and Chung's credibility suffered as she continued to cover the tabloid stories assigned to her. Her 1995 firing from the co-anchor position and subsequent loss of "Eye to Eye with Connie Chung" disturbed many who were pleased to see a woman reaching new heights in journalism. Dan Rather's seeming indifference to Chung's firing fueled the rumor that he pulled strings to have her let go.
Chung received numerous accolades for her work, including three National Emmy Awards, a Peabody, a 1991 Ohio State Award, a 1991 National Headliner Award, two American Women in Radio and Television National Commendations, a 1991 Clarion Award, and in 1990 she was chosen as favorite interviewer by U.S. News and World Report in their annual "Best of America" survey.
On December 2, 1984, Chung married television journalist Maury Povich, host of "The Maury Povich Show," a syndicated day-time television talk show. Their adoption of a son, Matthew Jay Povich, came shortly after Chung's firing from CBS. She has been a full-time mother since her departure from the network, but talks have surfaced suggesting she and Povich will collaborate on a news show, to be produced by Dreamworks Televsion, once his contract with "The Maury Povich Show" runs out in 1997.