On January 7, Connie Chung will return to television for the first time since CNN canceled her in 2003, as the co-host of Weekends With Maury and Connie, a new chat show on MSNBC. The other host is her husband, Maury Povich. MSNBC’s president has touted the couple as a morning-show Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Chung and Povich talked to Deborah Schoeneman about big breaks, their converging careers, and what the other one is really thinking.
What was the biggest story of your journalistic career?
Maury: I anchored A Current Affair from Berlin when the wall came down. We covered the East Germans in the red-light district [of West Germany] to find out if they knew what Western democracy was all about.
And what was your biggest “get”?
C: Nixon during Watergate.
M: Heck, a lot of people would say the Robert Chambers videotape at a slumber party tearing off the head of a doll. That made my career. What was Connie’s biggest get? Well, Marlon Brando weighed more than anybody else. He used to call her up with late-night phone calls.
Who is your hero in journalism?
C: Walter Cronkite. Maury will say his dad.
M: My dad [sports columnist Shirley Povich].
What’s the last thing you TiVo’ed?
C: Desperate Housewives.
M: Connie is the sixth Desperate Housewife.
What’s your biggest fear about doing this show together?
C: That it will ruin my personal life.
M: The survival of my marriage.
What’s your biggest phobia?
C: I have a serious problem with OCD, so disorganization. Maury’s would be organization.
M: Walking under ladders and scaffolding. Connie’s afraid of being on time.
Let’s play the word-association game. We’ll start with . . . Oprah.
C: The best! Maury’s not going to appreciate that. Sorry, dear!
M: The queen of talk.
C: The worst!
M: He never should have quit my game. Bill O’Reilly.
C: Is there a category for even worse?
M: A previous competitor.
C: Hot! But I’m not his type. I can’t fit the bill.
M: So gray, so young.
How about . . . tabloid TV.
M: My savior.
If you couldn’t be a TV journalist, what would you be?
C: A ballet dancer.
M: I would like to teach modern U.S. political history at the University of Montana, where the kids haven’t been corrupted yet by Eastern cynicism.
If your show were a sitcom, what would it be called?
C: Maury wanted to call it Mr. and Mrs. Chung, but the heads wouldn’t let us. They didn’t like Not Necessarily the Truth, either.
M: Beating Up Maury.