1993: 'Eye to Eye with Connie Chung' Premieres
On this day in 1993, Just two weeks after joining Dan Rather as co-anchor of The CBS Evening News, Connie Chung's one-hour newsmagazine show, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, made its debut.
Produced by CBS News' Andrew Heyward, the Thursday night program also featured regular reports by Bernard Goldberg, Edie Magnus and Russ Mitchell.
Chung became caught up in a media firestorm following her January 5, 1995 Eye to Eye interview with Kathleen Gingrich — mother of then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich — as a result of the following exchange:
"Mrs. Gingrich, what has Newt told you about President Clinton?"
Nothin'," she replies. "And I can't tell you what he said about Hillary."
"You can't?" Chung asks.
At that point, Chung leans forward and asks: "Why don't you just whisper it to me, just between you and me?"
Gingrich obliges. "She's a bitch."
After the exchange, critics called into question Chung's ethics and professionalism, and used the Gingrich situation, along with Eye to Eye's penchant for covering sensationalized stories, to question Chung's journalistic standards. CBS News execs readily admitted that Chung's credibility as a journalist was tarnished.
Not long after the brouhaha, Chung was asked to step down from her nightly news anchor gig in favor of weekend anchor duties and taking on the role of Rather's substitute host. Chung refused, and instead asked to be released from her contract. When Chung exited CBS in May, 1995, Eye to Eye continued (briefly, anyway), but with Chung's name dropped from the title.