Here's How Much Connie Chung Is Really Worth

Connie Chung will be remembered as the first Asian-American and second-ever female anchor of a national network newscast. While her time on "CBS Evening News" may be her crowning professional achievement, it's only a blip on the radar of her long and full career and life.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Chung was a quiet kid who surprised everyone when she decided to pursue TV journalism, according to NPR. Over the course of a decades-long career she worked for a number of networks, such as NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Along the way, she landed several huge interviews, including Magic Johnson's first interview after revealing he was HIV-positive, one with Representative Gary Condit after his mistress Chandra Levy's disappearance, and a particularly explosive one with Bill Gates (who walked out mid-questioning).

Chung was also always outspoken about her desire to have a family and be a mother at a time when doing so would have been seen as a death sentence for her career. In 1995, arguably at the height of her success, she welcomed her son, Matthew. Despite taking a brief hiatus to care for the newborn, Chung's career hardly ended, and the big paychecks she had become accustomed to certainly didn't stop coming.

In fact, Chung's extensive finances have proved that one doesn't have to choose between motherhood and a major payday, because, according to Celebrity Net Worth, she's worth $80 million.

Connie Chung was the daughter of immigrants

Constance "Connie" Chung is the only member of her family to be born in America. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she joined her nine older siblings less than a year after her family landed in the United States. Before immigrating, her father had been an intelligence officer for the Chinese Nationalist Government, which allowed the family to live a relatively comfortable life. His experience also helped him secure positions in several U.S. government agencies, including a job as an accountant at the General Accounting Office. However, government jobs in the U.S. don't afford as much luxury as they do in Asia, so while the Chungs had their basic needs met, they didn't have many of the same indulgences — like a TV, maids, personal chefs, and nannies — they became accustomed to in China. In an interview with the Television Academy, Chung recalled that growing up, her family had "no money."

The family's financial situation was so tenuous that when it came time to choose a college, Chung, a diligent student by her own accounting, decided to attend University of Maryland (then only a middling school) simply because it was the most affordable option. In that same Television Academy interview, Chung revealed that she worked steadily through all five years of her undergraduate experience in order to afford tuition. This decision would go on to pay dividends, as it set Chung on a career path that would eventually make her a multi-millionaire.

She got her start as a copywriter

Connie Chung landed her first journalism job as a copywriter at WTTG, a Washington D.C.-area news station, shortly before she graduated. She told NPR she chose TV journalism over print journalism because she recognized its financial benefits, noting that TV "was still fairly young" and "print journalism was beginning to die." While there's no record of her exact salary, CollegeGrad reports that the average pay for a similar position today is about $37,000, or $4,800 back in 1969.

Up against an incredible amount of workplace racism and sexism — often being accused of "yellow journalism" — it took a year of hard work before Chung landed her first on-screen gig, as she recalled to the Television Academy. In 1971, she became a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite," which also came with a pay bump. Today, on-air reporters make $49,000 on average, according to Glassdoor, which would have been just over $7,000 in 1971.

She was able to offset these salaries by living with her parents. She told the Television Academy, "I was living at home until I was 29, can you imagine!" Eager to set out on her own, she accepted an anchor position at a small local station in Los Angeles, a step backward professionally but a step forward in terms of independence and, possibly, salary. According to Comparably, a local TV news anchor makes $69,000 in 2022, which would have been around $10,000 in the early '70s.

Connie Chung moved back East and started working for NBC

By 1983, having "had enough of being three hours behind" and covering "little fires and little killings and little shootings," per her interview with the Television Academy, Connie Chung was yearning to return to the national news circuit. So she sought out the number one network at the time: NBC. Grant Tinker, then the head of the network, quickly hired her as a national correspondent, the anchor of "NBC News at Sunrise," and the host of the 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. news digests. Chung described the schedule as "truly miserable," but the pay of around $34,000 in the early '80s (based on what Payscale reports the average anchor for the network makes) certainly would have made it all worth it.

It was during her time at NBC that Chung became a regular face on one of the network's newer shows, "Late Night with David Letterman." She recalled that Letterman, who also shot at Rockefeller Center, often called her up when a guest would cancel, and the two would talk "a lot about nothing." While she likely wasn't paid for her appearances — the Chicago Tribune reports that most non-union guests of late night talk shows get a small honorarium if anything — the exposure and chemistry that existed between the two certainly helped to boost her star and increase her popularity.

She then went 'home' to CBS

In the early '90s, Connie Chung used her popularity to help facilitate a move from NBC to its competitor, CBS. She told the Television Academy she was growing bored of covering the soft stories NBC was throwing her way. So when her contract was up, Chung, knowing that NBC was cutting costs wherever they could and wouldn't be able to pay her what she asked, jumped ship and returned "home" to CBS.

After doing a number of newsmagazine shows for the network, Chung was promoted to co-anchor of the "CBS Evening News" alongside Dan Rather. She recalls being "shocked" to be offered the chair, saying it was considered the "crème de la crème job, the one that all of us worked for and dreamed about but never really [thought] would reach reality." The move made her the second woman, after Barbara Walters, to anchor a national nightly news program.

We aren't sure exactly what Chung earned while at CBS, but we can make some conjectures. Payscale reports that CBS News anchors make about $98,000 in 2022, which would have been $51,000 back in 1993. But, considering that Chung won an Emmy Award during her time at CBS for her work on "Face to Face with Connie Chung," it's possible, and quite likely, that her salary was well above this average. This is supported by the fact that when she was fired, Entertainment Weekly reported she had $2 million left on her contract.

Connie Chung returned to TV on ABC

After just a few short years at CBS, Connie Chung shocked the world when she stepped away from her career to grow her family. In 1995, Chung and her husband, Maury Povich, adopted their son Matthew. Many assumed that her motherhood journey would mark the end of her professional journey — after all, one can't have it all — but once again she proved her doubters wrong. In 1997, Roone Arledge, the head of ABC News, offered her a hosting job on the newsmagazine program "20/20," as Chung detailed in her interview with the Television Academy. During her time at ABC, she also filled in as a guest host on "Good Morning America" for a short time, reported Celebrity Net Worth.

"Good Morning America" wasn't Chung's first foray into morning TV, but it was the most popular morning series she'd ever repeatedly worked on. In 2017, "Good Morning America" hosts, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, and Michael Strahan, were making between $13-18 million each for the gig, according to Forbes. Since Chung wasn't a permanent anchor, she likely wasn't making quite this much, but, given her popularity and the fact that morning shows are so lucrative, we're sure the paychecks weren't anything to shake a stick at either.

She hasn't left the world of TV news behind

In her later career, Connie Chung kept the world informed through shows on both CNN and MSNBC. In 2002, she left ABC for CNN after an opportunity to host her own hour-long program, "Connie Chung Tonight" became available. Unfortunately, the series only lasted for a single year. According to The New York Times, it was canceled after a shift in the network's direction left the news program "out of step with the new approach." Additionally, it's possible the network felt they were paying too much for the star, who was reportedly earning $2 million a year.

After a brief hiatus, Chung began what would essentially become her victory lap, an MSNBC news program she hosted with Povich called "Weekends with Maury & Connie." The half-hour show was a dream come true for the couple who, Chung revealed to the Television Academy, had long wanted to work on a series together. However, they found it hard to find their stride and ended the series after a few short months. There's no word on how much they earned for the short-lived program, but, considering the network's highest-paid host earned $7 million in 2016 (a decade after "Weekends with Maury & Connie" went off the air) it couldn't have been that much.

Connie Chung tried her hand at teaching and acting

Though she's best known for being a news anchor and reporter, that's not all that Connie Chung has done professionally. In the mid-'90s, shortly after welcoming her son and just before moving to ABC, she spent time at Harvard University as a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. According to the university's website, she would have earned somewhere between $31,000 and $40,000 for the job in 1997.

But not all of her professional pursuits have been so serious and academic. Throughout Chung's years as a public figure, she's appeared as a guest star on a number of TV shows, typically playing herself, or a fictionalized version of herself. Among her acting credits are turns on "Murphy Brown," "House of Cards," "Fresh Off the Boat," and "The Undoing." According to Sapling, she earned anywhere from $1,072 a day or $7,260 per hour-long show, depending on the union she belongs to and the length of each project. So while these guest roles certainly wouldn't have been enough to live on, they were definitely a nice side hustle — and change of pace — for the newscaster.

These days, Chung is essentially retired, though she does occasionally appear as a guest host or commentator on news and talk show programs on various networks.

She is one half of a TV power couple

Decades on TV have resulted in many viewers feeling that they know all there is to know about Connie Chung and her personal life. However, many are unaware that she's been in a nearly 50-year relationship with tabloid talk show host Maury Povich (who, according to Celebrity Net Worth, currently brings in an annual salary of $14 million). The two met at WTTG when Chung was a newly minted copywriter and Povich a reporter. But it wasn't until several years later, after they both moved to Los Angeles, that they began a romantic relationship. In 1984, after several rejected proposals (per People) Chung and Povich finally tied the knot, officially becoming one of TV's wealthiest power couples.

After almost ten years of marriage, the couple decided they wanted to add another child to their brood (Povich has two daughters from a previous relationship). Unfortunately, actually getting pregnant wasn't as easy as the couple had expected, and they underwent several rounds of IVF before finally deciding to adopt. In 1995, the day after Chung was let go from CBS, the couple finalized the adoption of their son, Matthew.

Connie Chung's real estate holdings

Since 1983, when she returned to national news with NBC, Connie Chung has been based out of New York City. She and Maury Povich currently live in one of the city's most exclusive apartment buildings: The Dakota. Located on the Upper West Side, the building has been home to some of entertainment's biggest names, including John Lennon, Lauren Bacall, and Judy Garland. In 1995, New York Magazine reported that Chung and Povich had paid $5.8 million for their eight-room apartment. Today, the home is worth significantly more — a smaller seven-room apartment was on the market for $10.9 million in 2022.

While the couple spends most of their time in NYC, they do own a vacation home in Flathead County, Montana. While details surrounding the home's exact location and value are seemingly non-existent, we do know the duo purchased the local newspaper, the Flathead Beacon, and have been working to turn it into a profitable, and reputable, brand.

As recently as 2010, Chung also owned a home in Middletown, New Jersey. Built in 1832, the manor home, which features a pool, guest house, and putting green, was listed by the couple at $2.3 million. Given its proximity to the city, it's likely the home was used as a weekend and holiday residence by the family, providing them with more space and privacy as needed.