Campbell Brown (born June 14, 1968) is an American television news reporter and anchor. She currently hosts an eponymous primetime show on CNN and was formerly co-anchor of NBC's Weekend Today. Brown won an Emmy as part of the NBC team reporting on Hurricane Katrina while with NBC.
On May 18, 2010, Brown announced that she would be leaving CNN.
Early life and family
Campbell Brown was born Alma Dale Campbell Brown on June 14, 1968 in Natchez, Mississippi, the daughter of former Louisiana Democratic State Senator, Secretary of State, and Insurance Commissioner James H. "Jim" Brown Jr., and Brown's first wife, artist Dale Campbell Fairbanks. According to Brown, "Alma Dale" was her grandmother's name, while "Campbell" was her mother's birth surname.
Brown was raised Roman Catholic,though her father is Presbyterian. She has two sisters.She grew up in Ferriday, Louisiana and attended Trinity Episcopal Day School. She was also a cheerleader. She was kicked out of the elite Madeira School for sneaking off campus to go to a party.Brown attended Louisiana State University for two years before graduating from Regis University. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English in the former Czechoslovakia.
On April 2, 2006, Brown married Daniel Samuel Senor (born 1971), formerly chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Brown converted to Judaism, her husband's faith. Brown was married briefly before, to a Washington real estate broker.
On June 24, 2007, Brown announced on Weekend Today that she and her husband were expecting their first child. On December 18, 2007, Brown gave birth to a son, Eli James Senor, named after his grandfather, James Senor.
On October 27, 2008, during a guest appearance on The Daily Show, Brown announced her second pregnancy. On April 6, 2009, Brown gave birth to a second son, Asher Liam Senor. She returned from maternity leave on Monday, June 1.
She began her career in local news reporting for KSNT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Topeka, Kansas, and then for WWBT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Richmond, Virginia, and also reported for WBAL-TV in Baltimore, Maryland, and WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. Brown joined NBC News in 1996. She was later assigned to The Pentagon and covered the war in Kosovo. Before Weekend Today, she was the White House correspondent for NBC News.
Presidential election coverage in 2000
During the 2000 Presidential campaign, she covered George W. Bush as well as the Republican National Convention and Republican primary. She eventually became the primary substitute anchor for Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News. In March 2006, she was named as one of five women who might replace Katie Couric when she would leave The Today Show, but the vacancy was filled by Meredith Vieira.
Move to CNN
Brown announced July 22, 2007, on Weekend Today that she would be leaving NBC News after 11 years to devote time to her family and expected baby. CNN confirmed it had hired Brown, and that Brown would start work for CNN in February 2008 (originally November 2007), filling the spot previously held by Paula Zahn, who left the network in turn. Brown began anchoring CNN Election Center, which ran from February through October 2008. The show was renamed Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull in October 2008, right before the election in order to ensure a smooth transition when the election was over. Roland Martin filled in as guest host in April and May 2009 while Brown took maternity leave. When she returned in June 2009, the show was renamed again to simply Campbell Brown.
Interviews during the 2008 election season
On September 1, 2008, Brown conducted a controversial interview with Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Republican Presidential candidate John McCain concerning vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Brown questioned Palin's executive experience and asked for examples of decisions Palin had made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard. Bounds did not name an example, but stated that Palin had more executive experience than Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Brown accused Bounds of sidestepping with his answers and repeated some of the same questions. Brown asserted that Senator McCain had made a point of wanting a vice president with a lot of experience, including foreign policy experience, and that his selection of Palin seemed to abandon that principle. She asked Bounds to explain the decision on that basis. Bounds contended that Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin together had more executive experience than Senator Obama and Senator Joe Biden combined. Brown also asked if Palin should accept the Republican vice-presidential nomination given that her teenage daughter is pregnant out of wedlock. The McCain campaign later accused Brown of anti-Republican/McCain bias, alleging that she had "gone over the line." In response, the campaign canceled McCain's scheduled interview with Larry King, but later rescheduled it.
On May 18, 2010, Brown announced that she would be leaving CNN, after the network agreed to release her from her contract. She stated that poor ratings had been the primary reason for her departure.
"I'm pretty sure the last time any anchor could honestly ignore ratings was well before I was born. Of course I pay attention to ratings. And simply put, the ratings for my program are not where I would like them to be. It is largely for this reason that I am stepping down as anchor of CNN's Campbell Brown."
In popular culture
Brown has been parodied by actress/comedienne Tracey Ullman in her Showtime comedy series Tracey Ullman's State of the Union as well as by Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live.