While still in college, John Roberts started his journalistic career on radio, working at the local college station, CFRE-FM in Mississauga. In 1975, he joined as a reporter and news anchor with CFOS in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Then he worked as a newsman and DJ with CHYM in Kitchener, and on-air for radio station CJBK in London, Ontario in 1977. Later he moved back to Toronto and joined TOP 40 Powerhouse CHUM. He also worked as a weekday evening disc jockey for some time. In CHUM and CITY-TV, he was given the on-air name J. D. Roberts.
In 1979, he left his radio job to co-host with Jeanne Beker the music newsmagazine ‘The NewMusic’ on CITY-TV, where he worked till 1985.
Along with his NewMusic job, he also worked as an entertainment reporter for CITY-TV and on many occasions filled in for John Majhor and Brad Giffen on CITY-TV’s music video show ‘Toronto Rocks.’
When Canada's music channel MuchMusic was launched in 1984, John Roberts joined the channel, and together with Christopher Ward appeared as the first on-air personalities. He hosted many programs at MuchMusic, including ‘The Power Hour,’ a heavy metal video show.
In 1987, he left MuchMusic and joined CITY-TV's CityPulse. He became the anchor of the program CityPulse Tonight. In 1989, he joined as an anchor/reporter with WCIX (now WFOR-TV), a CBS-owned television station in Miami, Florida.
In 1990, he returned to Canada and joined the national CTV morning show ‘Canada AM.’ Initially he co-hosted with Deborah McGregor, and later with Pamela Wallin.
In 1992, he went back to the USA and joined CBS News in New York. Initially he co-anchored the ‘CBS Morning News’ with Meredith Vieira. He was filled in as newsreader and substitute anchor for Harry Smith on ‘CBS This Morning.’
From 1994 to 1995 he anchored the 5pm and 11pm newscasts at WCBS-TV, CBS's flagship station in New York. In 1995, he joined CBS Network once again to anchor the CBS Sunday Evening News. He remained in that position for about 11 years. In February 1999, he started anchoring CBS Saturday Evening News, and continued till August 1999.
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In August 1999, John Roberts joined as the chief White House Correspondent at CBS, which he continued till February 2006. During that period, he anchored the Sunday 3pm ET newscast for CBS Radio Network. In 2003, he was embedded with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion of the US Marines during the invasion of Iraq.
He was strongly considered as a potential replacement for CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather after Rather stepped down in March 2005. However, Bob Schieffer was chosen over Roberts.
In February 2006, he left CBS for CNN. In July and August, he reported from the front lines in the Israel/Hezbollah war and was embedded with an Israeli infantry unit that was marching into Lebanon. CNN's coverage of the war was awarded with Edward R. Murrow Award.
In October 2006, he became the first anchor of ‘This Week at War’ in Iraq, and thereafter served as the Senior National Correspondent in Washington. He also co-anchored CNN's morning program ‘American Morning’ from 2007 to 2010 from New York.
In 2011, he left CNN to join Fox News as a national correspondent, based in Atlanta. He has followed and reported on the GOP side of the 2016 presidential election of USA. He did interviews with then-Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and other party members. In January 2017, he became the chief White House correspondent for Fox News.
Throughout his career, John Roberts has done many exclusive interviews and has covered several news-worthy international events. He covered the NATO bombing in Yugoslavia, London bombings, and the earthquakes in Turkey.
While at CBS News, he was embedded with the US Marines during the war in Iraq, and anchored the CBS Evening News coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the death of Pope John Paul II.
He has interviewed many prominent figures like former presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, former vice-president Al Gore, the late Yitzhak Rabin, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
He did an exclusive interview with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford regarding the allegations of his drinking and drug use. He also reported live from Moore, during the deadly EF5 tornado.
Awards & Achievements
Between 1979 and 1985, John Roberts, along with the NewMusic team won many awards for their work.
While at CBS, he received three national Emmy Awards for his coverage of the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the death of Princess Diana, and the TWA crash. He also received a Gracie award for his coverage of a groundbreaking surgery to repair neural tube defects.
He was recognized with a Headline Award for his coverage of the war along the Israeli-Lebanese border in 2006.
In 2010, his anchored program ‘American Morning’ was nominated for best morning program at the Daytime Emmy Awards, but it lost to ‘Good Morning America.’
John Roberts was first married to Michele. They divorced in 2008. He later married Kyra Phillips, a CNN anchor, in 2010. They have twin children—Sage Ann and Kellan Clay, who were born on March 15, 2011.
In August 2016, he faced a sexual harassment lawsuit at Fox News, when Andrea Tantaros claimed that Roberts, Bill O'Reilly, and Scott Brown sexually harassed her.