Bowden was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He attended Sacred Heart College, where he had an intense interest in music, playing in the school jazz band and as a member of the Aotea Orchestra, touring Asia and Australia. In his youth, he learned to play clarinet and piano and to read and write music. Bowden is a graduate of the Auckland University of Technology, with a Bachelor of Communication Studies, majoring in Television which he achieved in 2000.
After graduating from AUT, Bowden began hosting the popular Saturday morning Children's television programme, Squirt for TVNZ. Then moved into live television on the weekly late-night magazine style music-show Space, where he stayed for 3 years, interviewing stars as broad as Pink, Bon Jovi and Coldplay on a weekly basis. He also traveled the country with British popstar, Robbie Williams for a television special, Robbie Williams: Be Here Now.
Bowden, then moved to Australia and into radio, working as a roving nightly reporter for Austereo, on 2Day FM, under Kyle Sandiland. Then in 2004, it was announced Bowden would return to New Zealand as the sole host of New Zealand Idol for TVNZ. New Zealand Idol catapulted Bowden into one of the country’s most familiar faces. The Idol series one grand final was watched by a quarter of the country's population.
During this time, for six months Bowden hosted his own nightly radio show for MediaWorks Radio on More FM, called Most Wanted. He also appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Treasure Island: Series 1 and Shock Treatment. As well as hosting the successful game-shows, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader and Dare to Win, which had a similar format to Minute to Win It.
Bowden has worked as a reporter for the magazine news show 20/20 (US television series), traveling to Los Angeles to interview Ryan Seacrest for a television special in New Zealand. Shortly after, Bowden signed with Seacrest's then agent William Morris Endeavor and moving to Los Angeles. He was selected by American Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick to host "The Next Great American Band", which was cancelled after one season.
In 2014, Bowden co-hosted the all access show with Lacey Schwimmer for Dancing with the Stars (U.S. season 19)
Bowden was the sole host of the first and second series of the New Zealand version of X Factor. He was also the host of the revived sixth season of Dancing With The Stars in New Zealand, alongside Sharyn Casey. Both of these shows aired on TV3, and it is unclear whether they are going to return.
Bowden is currently the host of The Hype on the E! Network in Australia and New Zealand, alongside Ksenija Lukich. The show has been on air since October 2015.
Bowden has co-hosted the televised Qantas Television Awards, New Zealand Music Awards, Girlfriend Model Search, NZ Color Trophy Awards and the Christmas at St Matthews Music Special. He has also been enlisted as a weekly columnist for the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, New Idea and The TV Guide.
He appeared on Shortland Street's 15th anniversary show. He has done voice over work for Bond and Bond and Burger King, as well as appearing in numerous TV commercials, as well as narrator for season 2 of IRT World Deadliest Roads.
As an actor, Bowden appeared in the independent feature The Devil Dared Me To. The film had its world premiere at Austin's South by Southwest Festival and received a standing ovation. In addition to his film role, he had small roles on the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and Shortland Street. He also played himself on Go Girls.
He also interviewed stars for between-movie fillers for Sky Television.
Bowden married TV3 reporter Claire Robbie in 2008. The couple separated and divorced in 2012.The Devil Dared Me To (2007)
FictionGo Girls as himself (1 episode, 2009)
As hostSquirt (1996)
New Zealand Idol (86 episodes, 2004–2006)
Pop's Ultimate Star
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Dare to Win
The Next Great American Band (12 episodes, 2007)
The X Factor New Zealand (2013, 2015)
As a reporter/co-hostBreakfast as Hollywood reporter (2008-); co-host sub for Paul Henry (2009)
The Erin Simpson Show as LA/Entertainment reporter (2009–2010)
One News/Close Up as interviews/entertainment reports (2009)
The Hype as co-host (2015)
As a contestantTreasure Island (2001)
OtherCleo Bachelor of the Year 2000 (2000)
38th Annual New Zealand Music Awards (2001)
What Now (10 episodes, 2005)