CNN Bringing Back Crossfire?

There are reports this afternoon that CNN is looking at bringing back its classic left-right political talk show Crossfire:

CNN is looking to bring back “Crossfire,” TVNewser hears. The long-running political debate show was canceled in 2005.

It isn’t entirely clear what time the program would air, though we hear it would likely be a 30-minute format. During its original run from 1982-2005, “Crossfire” aired in both the afternoons and primetime, in addition to weekend editions. Aside from a brief 60-minute experiment, it was always 30 minutes. CNN declined to comment.

As much as I liked Crossfire during its classic days when the head-to-head was between Tom Braden and Pat Buchanan, and later when the adversaries were Buchanan and Michael Kinsley,  it did start going downhill pretty quickly after the original participants parted ways with the show. By the time of the classic Jon Stewart takedown that many mark as the end of the show, when the left-right faceoff was between Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, the show had become something of a parody of itself. If they do bring it back, they’re going to have to be careful about who they select as hosts because most of the talking heads on cable today, whether on the left or the right, do little more than spout talking points while yelling at each other. If I wanted that, I’d pop in the video tape of the last family reunion.

H/T: Jeff Quinton

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Blue Galangal says:

    I’m hoping they can interest Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin in a deal.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve largely forgotten the show except for the parody clip in Airplane with the Novak character saying, ‘They bought their tickets, they knew the risks. Let them crash.’

  3. @Blue Galangal:

    Yes!!!!!!! I would totally watch that

  4. Brett says:

    Has CNN already forgotten the failure of “Parker-Spitzer”? These type of “Left-Right” Crossfire shows just don’t work anymore.

  5. reid says:

    When I started watching Crossfire (late ’80s? early ’90s?), it was a novelty and done fairly well. Now these news networks seem like crass 24-hour versions. No thanks. (Though, it would be semi-interesting to see something like Maddow vs. Hannity.)

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I actually didn’t know that show had been canceled. Ah, well.

    CNN’s audience is so small that that network is about as relevant as a war between Luxembourg and Liechtenstein would be relevant to world history. And those left-right shows in this day and age would have little to very little realistic chances of success. Nearly in all cases they Instantly would turn into pissing matches about nonsense. Other than Scott Brown there pretty much are no adult experienced rational professionals anywhere in the media complex. And the plain reality is that by definition a liberal can’t be sentient, much less well informed and rational.

    What could work is if you had a guy like Joe Manchin debating a guy like Marco Rubio. Or a gal like DiFi debating a gal like Condi Rice. But obviously that’ll happen as soon as hell freezes over.

  7. Andre Kenji says:

    I kinda like the Mark Shields and David Brooks face off on PBS. I also loved when Pat Buchanan faced Sam Stein on Morning Joe. This only works when the two hosts have some chemistry and can be friends outside the set. Bengala and Carville are political consultants first, and political consultants see elections as war, and they can´t have friend in the other side.

    Maybe Doug Mataconis and Michael Reynolds could be a good duo.