Family & Companions
A warm and seemingly sincere television personality, Maury Povich went from local newsman to the host of one of the first tabloid newsmagazine programs that became a ubiquitous airwave presence in the years that followed. Coming out of radio and local affiliate television news in his hometown of Washington, DC, Povich gained nationwide recognition behind the anchor's desk on the "infotainment" newsmagazine "A Current Affair" (syndicated, 1986-1996). Within four years, the ambitious Povich left the program to host a daytime talk show of his own with "The Maury Povich Show" (syndicated, 1990-98). A reasonably successful entry in the familiar format, its transformation into "Maury" (syndicated, 1998- ) heralded a noticeable turn away from compassionate human interest stories and toward more lurid, lowbrow segments which frequently devolved into shouting matches and catfights. Other efforts included a short-lived news program with his wife, TV journalist and anchor, Connie Chung, called "Weekends with Maury and Connie" (MSNBC, 2006) and acting as financial benefactor to the small Montana area newspaper, the Flathead Beacon. Infusing his daily television offerings with a certain homespun urban appeal, Povich maintained one of the lengthier careers in the world of syndicated daytime television.
Born Maurice Richard Povich on Jan. 17, 1939 in Washington, DC, "Maury" was the middle of three children born to Ethyl - née Friedman - and Shirley Povich, a respected sports journalist in the capitol area. Following in his father's footsteps, he graduated from nearby Maryland's prestigious Landon School in 1957, prior to earning his journalism degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. Povich began his career as a reporter on the local radio station WWDC before moving on to news and sports reporting at WTTG-TV in 1966. A year later, he landed a job as the inaugural host of "Panorama," a popular midday talk show. It was during this time that the then-married Povich met a young copy writer named Connie Chung, who also worked at WTTG. In 1976, Povich left Washington for similar duties with the NBC affiliate in Chicago. A contract dispute a year later put the anchorman back on the road and at work in various high-profile markets such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia before he ultimately returned home to Washington, DC and his old chair at the news anchor's desk and on "Panorama" in 1983. Having divorced his first wife by that time, Povich happily reconnected with Chung upon his return and married the fellow journalist a year later.
Povich's profile increased dramatically in 1986 when media mogul Rupert Murdoch hand-picked the anchorman to host the television newsmagazine "A Current Affair" (syndicated, 1986-1996). Originally, a late-night "soft-news" program broadcast on a local NYC affiliate, the program eventually grew in popularity until it achieved nationwide success in syndication. "A Current Affair" - while covering the occasional hard news story - increasingly focused on entertainment gossip, scandals and other types of tabloid fare. Although he had long defended the "infotainment" program and its frequently salacious content, Povich left the show in 1990 once his contract had expired. The affable anchor went on to become executive producer and host of "The Maury Povich Show" (syndicated, 1991-98), an afternoon talk show which dealt with more personalized, albeit frequently sensational, issues, usually combining two to three different segments into each hour-long installment. While never achieving either the critical accolades heaped upon daytime talk pioneer Phil Donahue, or the enviable ratings success enjoyed by Oprah Winfrey, "The Maury Povich Show" nonetheless performed reasonably well during its eight-season run in syndication.
Povich also occasionally hosted reality specials, covering such diverse topics as "Forbes 400: The Richest People in America" (CBS, 1992) and "Why Bother Voting" (PBS, 1992). The former journalist and talk show personality attracted media attention of his own when he and Chung adopted a son in 1995. As a well-deserved byproduct, Povich earned the recognition of New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani when he was honored for his efforts to raise awareness of the issue during National Adoption Month that same year. When syndication was taken over by Studio USA and NBC Universal, Povich's talk show underwent a renovation and name change in 1998. From its premiere episode, the newly refurbished "Maury" (syndicated, 1998- ) quickly veered more noticeably into "trash TV" territory, with Povich more closely resembling Jerry Springer than the thoughtful, former newsman he had once been considered. One particularly distasteful segment jauntily titled "Who's Your Daddy?" - in which reluctant, or simply undetermined, fathers were fingered via actual DNA paternity tests - soon became a recurring and popular feature on the show.
While still maintaining his duties on "Maury," Povich briefly served as host of the short-lived "Twenty One" (NBC, 2000), a revival of the classic game show most remembered for the 1950s scandal that inspired the Robert Redford-directed feature "Quiz Show" (1994). Additionally, he hosted the TV special "The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See" (Fox, 2003), a response to what the Jackson camp viewed as a highly-biased and creatively-edited taped interview aired by controversial journalist Martin Bashir weeks earlier. Another soon-canceled endeavor included a morning talk show co-hosted alongside Chung, entitled "Weekends with Maury and Connie" (MSNBC, 2006). Suffering from dismal ratings from its inception, the program was canceled within six months. In a return to his journalistic roots, the former reporter launched the Flathead Beacon, a print and online newspaper based in Montana's Flathead Valley, where Povich had maintained a residence for more than a decade. As he had for years, Povich occasionally dabbled in acting, most often appearing as some version of himself on such light fare as "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-13) and "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005-14) and in the Tyler Perry comedy feature "Madea's Big Happy Family" (2011).
Cast (Feature Film)
General assignment and sports reporter, WTTG, Washington, DC
Hired by an NBC affiliate in Chicago, but quit after a few months in the wake of a contract dispute
Worked for a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, but the news broadcast's ratings did not improve and he was let go after four months; during this time he worked briefly as co-anchor with future wife Connie Chung
Made isolated appearance as "Talk Show Host" in feature film, "The Imagemaker"
Hosted the primetime broadcast, "Confessions of Mr. Tabloid", a tongue-in-cheek recap of stories covered on "A Current Affair"
Hosted specials, "FORBES 400: The Richest People in America" and "Why Bother Voting?"
Announced plans to co-host half-hour news information TV show with wife Connie Chung beginning in the 1998-99 season; show to be produced by DreamWorks SKG
DreamWorks announced cancellation of plans to produce half-hour information series co-hosted by Povich and Chung
Hosted the syndicated one-hour talk show "Maury"
Served as host for the NBC game show remake "Twenty One"