Julie Chen '87
CBS News Anchor, Journalist and Producer
Chen's mother grew up in Rangoon, Burma, where Chen's grandfather was a leading industrialist. Her father was born in China and was one of the top leaders in the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek. Consequently, her family moved everywhere in China, eventually fleeing to Taiwan. Chen was born in Queens, New York.
Chen attended Junior High School 194 in Queens, where she was voted "Most Intelligent and Most Likely to Succeed." She graduated high school from St. Francis Prep in 1987 after having failed entrance exams for Bronx High School of Science, the school her older sisters attended.
She attended the University of Southern California and graduated in 1991 with a major in broadcast journalism and in English. One of her earlier jobs came in June of 1989, at CBS Morning News--the series which she would anchor a decade later--where she answered phones and copied faxes for distribution. The following year, while still in school, she worked for ABC NewsOne for one season as a desk assistant. She was subsequently promoted to work as a producer for the next three years. The following year, she traveled to Dayton, Ohio to work as a newsanchor for WDTN-TV, from 1995 to 1997.
Since 2000, she has also been the host of the American version of Big Brother
. During the first season
(2000), Chen was widely criticized in the media for her heavily scripted, wooden delivery in her interaction with the studio audience and in the interviews on the live programs, earning her the nickname "Chenbot
" among the internet and many fans.
She has indicated in two separate interviews that she takes no personal offense to the term, adding that it may derive from her "precise on-air style" which comes from "a desire to be objective." She again acknowledged the nickname while discussing mugs made in her liking when she proudly proclaimed, "I am the Chenbot!" in a segment
on the CBS Early Show