Campbell Brown

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For the Australian rules footballer, see Campbell Brown (footballer).
Campbell Brown
CNN's Campbell Brown.jpg
Brown at the Greater Talent Network’s 30th Anniversary, NYC, May 2, 2012
Born Alma Dale Campbell Brown
(1968-06-14) June 14, 1968 (age 46)
Ferriday, Louisiana, United States[1][2]
Status Married
Education Regis University
Occupation Broadcast journalist
Notable credit(s) Co-anchor of Weekend Today
Anchor of CNN Election Center
Anchor of Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull
Anchor of Campbell Brown
Religion raised Roman Catholic, converted to Judaism
Spouse(s) Peregrine "Pere" Roberts (divorced)
Dan Senor (2006 - present)
Children Eli James Senor (b. December 18, 2007)
Asher Liam Senor (b. April 6, 2009)
Awards Emmy Award

Alma Dale Campbell Brown (born June 14, 1968) is an American television news reporter and anchorwoman. She previously hosted the Campbell Brown Show on CNN and was the former co-anchor of Weekend Today on NBC-TV. Brown won an Emmy Award as part of the NBC-TV team reporting on Hurricane Katrina.[3][4] In 2013 she became an education activist as founder and head of the Parents Transparency Project.

Early life and family[edit]

Campbell Brown was born Alma Dale Campbell Brown in Ferriday, Louisiana, the daughter of the former Louisiana Democratic State Senator and Secretary of State James H. Brown Jr., and Brown's first wife, Dale Campbell.[1][2] According to Brown, "Alma Dale" was her grandmother's name, while "Campbell" was her mother's maiden name.[5]

Brown was raised as a Roman Catholic,[6][7] though her father is a Presbyterian. She has two sisters.[8]

Brown grew up in Ferriday, Louisiana, and she attended the Trinity Episcopal Day School. Her family was involved in hunting, politics, and cooking, "It was all about Cajun and tight-knit families and big parties," Brown has said.[9]

She was expelled from the Madeira School for sneaking off campus to go to a party.[10] Brown attended Louisiana State University for two years before graduating from Regis University. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English in Czechoslovakia.[11] in her 2006 wedding announcement in the New York Times, she was described as having "spent her postcollege years as a Colorado ski bum." [9]

On April 2, 2006, Brown married Daniel Samuel Senor, the former chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.[8][12] Senor is also a former advisor to Mitt Romney and close associate of Paul Singer (businessman), Republican power broker and charter school supporter.[13] They had met in Iraq in March 2004, when Senor was spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad and Brown was one of the journalists covering his daily news confrences. After Senor returned to Washington in 2004, Brown callled him. "I was wildly, wildly curious about his experience in Iraq," she later said. According to the New York Times, "their first date was a group dinner, with Tom Brokaw and another journalist." Senor and Brown married at the Beaver Creek Chapel in Beaver Creek, Colorado.[9] Brown converted to Judaism, her husband's faith.[6][14][15] Brown had been married before, briefly, to a Washington, D.C., real estate broker.[10] That marriage ended in divorce.[9]

On June 24, 2007, Brown announced on Weekend Today that she and her husband were expecting their first baby.[16] On December 18, 2007, Brown gave birth to their son, Eli James Senor, named after his grandfather, James Senor. In an August 2008 article, Brown addressed charges that her marriage to Senor, who at the time was working as an advisor for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, represented a conflict of interest for her as a journalist. Brown noted that such marriages were commonplace in Washington, with NBC reporters Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell married to a Democratic consultant and Alan Greenspan respectively.[17]

On October 27, 2008, during a guest appearance on The Daily Show, Brown announced her second pregnancy.[18] On April 6, 2009, Brown gave birth to her second son, Asher Liam Senor. She returned from maternity leave on Monday, June 1.[19]


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 she 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 she covered the war in Kosovo. Before Weekend Today, she was the White House correspondent for NBC News.

Presidential election coverage in 2000[edit]

During the Presidential campaign of the year 2000, she covered George W. Bush, the Republican National Convention, and Republican party primary elections. She became the main substitute anchor for Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News.

In March 2006, Brown was named as one of five women who might replace Katie Couric when she left the Today Show. The position ultimately went to Meredith Vieira.

Move to CNN[edit]

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. Brown began anchoring CNN Election Center, which ran from February through October 2008.[20] The show was renamed Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull in October 2008, shortly 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[edit]

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 the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard. Bounds did not name an example, but he stated that Palin had more executive experience than Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. The McCain campaign later accused Brown of anti-Republican/anti-McCain bias, and said she had "gone over the line."[21]


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."[22]

She went on to say:

"The 8:00 p.m. hour in the cable news world is currently driven by the indomitable Bill O’Reilly, Nancy Grace, and Keith Olbermann. Shedding my own journalistic skin to try to inhabit the kind of persona that might co-exist in that lineup is simply impossible for me. It is not who I am, or who I want to be."[23]

Brown's last day at CNN was on July 21, 2010. Beginning on July 22, her 8:00 p.m. prime time slot was filled by a second hour of Rick Sanchez's Rick's List TV program.[24] In October, the show Parker Spitzer debuted at the 8:00 p.m. time slot.

Other roles[edit]

After leaving CNN, Brown began writing opinion pieces for publications that included The New York Times,[25][26] The Wall Street Journal,[27] The Daily Beast[28] and Slate.[29] Brown has become an outspoken advocate for school choice and education reform. In June 2013, Brown founded the Parents Transparency Project,[30] a nonprofit watchdog group on behalf of parents seeking information and accountability from the teachers’ unions and New York Department of Education on actions impacting children in schools. The group, working with the New York Daily News,[31] investigated and reported on school employees accused of sexual misconduct with children but still kept their jobs.

In addition to the Parents Transparency Project, Brown also serves on the boards of Success Academy Charter Schools,[32] a New York City charter school network; Turnaround for Children,[33] a nonprofit organization that addresses the emotional effects of poverty on children's learning environments; and the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF).[34]

In 2012, Brown performed as a "broadcast journalist" in the play 8.[35]

In popular culture[edit]

Brown was parodied by the actress and comedienne Tracey Ullman in her Showtime comedy series Tracey Ullman's State of the Union, and by Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live.


  1. ^ a b "Famous Ferridians". The Town of Ferriday. 
  2. ^ a b "Campbell Brown (II)". IMDB. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Nominees for the News and Documentary Emmy Awards". National Television Academy. 
  4. ^ "Dan Senor & Campbell Brown (profile)". Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau. 
  5. ^ Clehane, Diane (February 26, 2007). "So What Do You Do, Campbell Brown?". Mobile Media News. Retrieved July 25, 2007. 
  6. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Interfaith Celebrities: CNN's Intermarried Beauties and E!'s Interfaith Ingenue By Nate Bloom September 6, 2007
  8. ^ a b Brady, Lois Smith (April 9, 2006). "Weddings & Celebrations: Campbell Brown and Dan Senor". New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b c d Brady, Lois. "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS: VOWS; Campbell Brown and Dan Senor". New York Times. 2014 The New York Times Company. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b St. John, Warren (November 23, 2003). "A Potential Contender In a Post-Couric Derby". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Anchors & Reporters: Campbell Brown". CNN. Archived from the original on July 11, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008. 
  12. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (April 2, 2006). "NBC's Campbell Brown Gets Married". People ( 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Power couple discusses politics, war and marriage". Cleveland Jewish News. October 25, 2007. 
  15. ^ New Jersey Jewish News: "Former CNN anchor recalls journey to Judaism ‘I was not supposed to go without shellfish,’ jokes Campbell Brown" by Robert Wiener November 9, 2011
  16. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (June 25, 2007). "NBC's Campbell Brown to Be a Mom". People. Retrieved July 5, 2007. 
  17. ^ Brown, Campbell. "Confessions of a Romney Wife". 2014 The Slate Group LLC. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Campbell Brown Pregnant - TVNewser". 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  19. ^ "Campbell Brown Welcomes Baby Asher Liam Senor". The Huffington Post. April 6, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Campbell Brown Quietly Begins Her Tenure At CNN". March 31, 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2008. 
  21. ^ Brown, Campbell (September 5, 2008). "Brown: Tucker Bounds interview becomes lightning rod". CNN. 
  22. ^ "US: Campbell Brown leaving CNN". The Spy Report (Media Spy). May 19, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Campbell Brown to Leave CNN". The New York Times. May 18, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Rick Sanchez: Rick’s List Moving to 8 PM - TVNewser". 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  25. ^ "Obama: Stop Condescending to Women". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Planned Parenthood’s Self-Destructive Behavior". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Campbell Brown: Teachers Unions Go to Bat for Sexual Predators". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Campbell Brown: Keep Newtown Off the Culture War Battlefield". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Confessions of a Romney Wife". Slate. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  30. ^ "The Parents' Transparency Project". The Parents' Transparency Project. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Sex predators remain in NYC schools thanks to discipline system, group finds". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Success Academy Charter Schools". Success Academy Charter Schools. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Turn Around USA". Turn Around USA Charter Schools. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ IWMF website
  35. ^ "The Characters". American Foundation for Equal Rights. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Soledad O'Brien
Weekend Today Co-Anchor with Lester Holt
2003 - July 22, 2007
Succeeded by
Amy Robach (Saturday)
Jenna Wolfe (Sunday)