Chung was a Washington-based correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite in the early 1970s, during the Watergate political scandal. Later, Chung left to anchor evening newscasts for KNXT (now KCBS-TV), the network's owned and operated station in Los Angeles. Chung also anchored the network's primetime news updates (CBS Newsbreak) for West Coast stations from the KNXT studios at Columbia Square during her tenure there.
In 1983, Chung returned to network news as anchor of NBC's new early program, NBC News at Sunrise, which was scheduled as the lead-in to the Today program. She was also anchor of the Saturday edition of NBC Nightly News and filled-in for Tom Brokaw on weeknights. NBC also created two newsmagazines, American Almanac and 1986, which she co-hosted with Roger Mudd.
In 1989, Chung left NBC for CBS where she hosted Saturday Night with Connie Chung (later renamed Face to Face with Connie Chung) (1989–1990), and anchored the CBS Sunday Evening News (1989–1993). On June 1, 1993, she became the second woman (after Barbara Walters with ABC in 1976) to co-anchor a major network's national news weekday broadcast (the first solo national news anchor title in the United States goes to Katie Couric at CBS). While hosting the CBS Evening News, Chung also hosted a side project on CBS, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung. After her unsuccessful co-anchoring stint with Dan Rather ended in 1995, Chung left CBS. She eventually jumped to ABC News where she co-hosted the Monday edition of 20/20 with Charles Gibson and began independent interviews, a field which would soon become her trademark.
A few months later, in the wake of the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Chung was widely criticized for sarcasm as she asked an Oklahoma City Fire Department spokesman, "Can the Oklahoma City Fire Department handle this?" Many Oklahomans felt the question was insensitive to the situation. For instance, a few women created "Bite Me, Connie Chung" shirts in response to the interview. Thousands of viewers in Oklahoma and elsewhere called and wrote letters of protest over the tone of the questions. Moreover, co-anchor Dan Rather was irate that Chung was sent from New York to the assignment while he was already in nearby Texas. Consequently, after public outcry, and Rather's complaints, Chung was given a choice to resign or move to weekend anchor or morning anchor. Chung left the network after being removed as co-anchor of CBS Evening News.
In 1997, Chung made the jump to ABC News as a reporter on 20/20, and co-host of the Monday edition of the program alongside Charles Gibson. In 2001, she conducted an interview with Gary Condit on Primetime Thursday, focusing on his relationship with murdered Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy.
In July 2002 Chung interviewed tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who at that point had been a naturalized U.S. citizen for more than 20 years, about her recent criticisms of the U.S. political system. Chung labelled these criticisms "un-American" and "unpatriotic", and suggested Navratilova should "go back to Czechoslovakia" (which had ceased to be a united nation nine years earlier) rather than use her Celebrity status to gain a platform for her complaints. When Navratilova asked why it was unpatriotic to speak out, Chung replied, "Well, you know the old line, love it or leave it."
Chung briefly hosted her own show on CNN entitled Connie Chung Tonight, for which she was paid $2 million per year. Though her arrival at CNN was heavily hyped by the network, her show was panned by critics. CNN changed her show from live to tape-delay to improve its continuity. Although it performed moderately well in the ratings (a 500,000 increase in viewers), her show was suspended once the 2003 Iraq War began. During the war, she was reduced to reading hourly headlines. Once CNN resumed regular programming, Chung requested that CNN resume broadcasting her show as soon as possible. The network responded by cancelling it, even though her contract had not yet expired. In an interview, CNN founder Ted Turner called the show "just awful."
In January 2006, Chung and Maury Povich began hosting a show titled Weekends with Maury and Connie on MSNBC. It was Chung's first appearance as a television host since 2003. The show was later canceled and aired its final episode on June 17, 2006. On this episode, Chung, dressed in a white evening gown and dancing atop a black piano, sang a parody to the tune of "Thanks for the Memory". Video clips of the bizarre, off-key farewell performance circulated on internet video sites. Connie herself commented, "All I want to be sure of is that viewers understood it was a giant self-parody. If anyone took it seriously, they really need to get a life." On the June 27, 2006 episode of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno interviewed Chung about her "Thanks for the Memory" parody. During the interview, Chung poked fun at her show's low ratings, referring to the musical number as a "private joke for our two viewers".
Chung was a judge for the Miss Universe 2011 contest.