Crossfire Returns with New Hosts

CNN is reviving the Crossfire shoutfest with Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter, and Van Jones as hosts.

crossfire-returns

CNN is reviving the Crossfire shoutfest with Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter, and Van Jones as hosts.

CNN (“Crossfire Returns“):

CNN today announced that Crossfire, previously the longest running political debate program on television, will return to the network this fall. Hosting from the right will be Newt Gingrich and S.E. Cupp, with Stephanie Cutter and Van Joneshosting from the left.

“Few programs in the history of CNN have had the kind of impact on political discourse that Crossfire did – it was a terrific program then, and we believe the time is right to bring it back and do it again,” said Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide. “We look forward to the opportunity to host passionate conversation from all sides of the political spectrum.  Crossfire will be the forum where America holds its great debates.”

In addition, all four hosts will appear across the network’s programming and its special coverage surrounding elections and political events.

[…]

Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House and former Republican presidential candidate. He served the Sixth District of Georgia for two decades. Gingrich is known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that in 1994 led to the Republican Party majority for the first time in 40 years. In 1995, he was elected Speaker of the House, where he served until 1999. During his tenure, Congress passed welfare reform, the first balanced budget in a generation, and the first tax cut in 16 years. Gingrich is a former Fox News contributor. He has published 24 books, including 14 fiction and non-fiction New York Times best-sellers.

S.E. Cupp is a conservative columnist, commentator and public speaker. She is author of the book “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal media’s Attack on Christianity” and co-author of the book “Why You’re Wrong About the Right.” She will continue her role as a contributor to TheBlaze, now out of the network’s new Washington bureau, appearing on a variety of network shows including “Real News.”  She is currently the co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle.” In addition, Cupp is a columnist at the New York Daily News and a contributing editor at Townhall Magazine.

Stephanie Cutter is a partner at Precision Strategies, a strategic consulting firm launched earlier this month with three veterans from the Obama 2012 campaign team. Cutter has a long history in politics, serving most recently as the deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s re-election campaign and having joined Obama’s 2008 campaign as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff and senior adviser to then Senator Obama.  Before joining the campaign, she served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Adviser for communications and strategy, and was previously counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Cutter also spent time in the U.S. Senate as a senior advisor to both Majority Leader Harry Reid and the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Van Jones is the founding president of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that promotes innovative policy solutions for the U.S. economy. He is a Yale-educated attorney and author of two The New York Times best selling books, “The Green Collar Economy” and “Rebuild the Dream.” He is the founder of four thriving, not-for-profit organizations. Jones is also the recipient of numerous awards, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done” in 2012; one of Time Magazine’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World.” In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor for the Obama administration.

Crossfire, which aired weeknights from 1982 to 2005, examined political and social issues in a televised debate. Conservative Pat Buchanan and liberal Tom Braden were the original hosts of the program, but over the years Crossfire featured various hosts from the right and from the left, including Robert Novak, Tucker Carlson, James Carville and Paul Begala. Guests on the program were frequently top lawmakers from across the political spectrum, but also included an eclectic mix of other personalities: Bob Hope, Rupert Murdoch, Charlton Heston, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Rush Limbaugh, Christopher Reeves, Arianna Huffington and Howard Cosell. As the preeminent political talk program, Crossfire cemented its status in the political and cultural lexicon when President Bill Clinton joked during his remarks at the 1997 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner that the newly opened Newseum featured an exhibit with “CNN’s very first Crossfire– from the left, Alexander Hamilton, from the right, Aaron Burr, topic, gun control.”

I was an avid Crossfire watcher for most of its run, although had lost interest before the infamous Jon Stewart-Tucker Carlson brouhaha. In the early days, a nightly debate program was an exciting concept, in that one typically had to wait for the Sunday morning shows or the infrequent Firing Line debate specials. The early debates between Tom Braden and Pat Buchanan were generally quite good and the show reached its apex with the Michael Kinsley-Pat Buchanan pairing. The two were highly intelligent, generally respectful to each other and their guests, and diverged enough from their party orthodoxy to be interesting. By the end, though, these shows were a dime a dozen and became shrill shoutfests with predictable left-right stock characters. By the time they were pairing the likes of Bill Press, Bob Beckel, and Paul Begala against Tucker Carlson and Bob Novak, it just became unbearable. Plus, blogs provided much better commentary whenever you wanted it.

I do think the new lineup is potentially interesting, albeit not enough so that I’m liable to tune in. Gingrich is the only one of the four who’s genuinely over-exposed and he has the potential at least to offer interesting ideas.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Cupp has been on MSNBC for just about a year. Interesting that CNN was able to get her to move.

  2. Andre Kenji says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Interesting that CNN was able to get her to move.

    ,
    interesting that anyone would want to hire her.

  3. Sejanus says:

    We got Gingrich and two lively ladies on set with him… Which one is going to replace Callista?

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I do think the new lineup is potentially interesting, albeit not enough so that I’m liable to tune in. Gingrich is the only one of the four who’s genuinely over-exposed and he has the potential at least to offer interesting ideas.

    I’m sure CNN’s thinking is that Gingrich may be over-exposed but people know who he is and are drawn to his opinions (for better or for worse) on the issues of the day. Van Jones? Conservatives have represented him as a communist/marxist/socialist/______-ist) so it will be interesting to see if he has anything interesting to say.

    Me? I would have made the panel all women, say, the FoxNews woment – if I’m going to be offended or appalled by the conversation, I might as well have something worth looking at.

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    I would have chosen Matt Lewis, Joshua Barro, Debra Dickerson and David Corn. Or something like that, a conjunction of good written journalists with no experience running campaigns.

  6. Senyordave says:

    There is a scene in the movie “Sleeper”, which is set in the future where they are showing a tape of Howard Cosell pontificating on some subject. One of the characters says that people believe that when a person committed a great crime as part of their punishment they were forced to watch the tape.
    I think if a person were to commit a crime today part of their punishment could be to be forced to watch this new Crossfire. A bunch of talking heads led by Newt Gingrich? He’s a real renaissance man – totally amoral, a complete grifter, basically a sociopath who at one point was one of the most powerful men in the country.

  7. NickTamere says:

    @Senyordave:
    #1: He requested something called “wheat germ”, “organic honey”, and “tiger’s milk”.
    [Laughter]
    #2: Oh yes, those were the “charmed substances” that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
    #1: You mean there was no “deep fat”? No steak or cream pies or hot fudge sundaes?
    #2: Those were thought to be unhealthy, precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

    “the New Crossfire” is one of those things like ketchup potato chips or celery flavored soda; in a country this big I don’t doubt that there’s someone out there who wants this stuff, but to most people it’s unpalatable.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    I will waste no more of my life listening to Newt Gingrich. He is not interesting. He does not have interesting ideas. He’s a big, fat bag of nothing. Not to mention being the human embodiment of fingernails on a chalkboard. Jeff Zucker is an idiot.

  9. EddieInCA says:

    Jeff Zucker was a 26 year old “wunderkind” of the “Today Show” a long-ass time ago.

    Since then, he has failed upwards. Seriously failed. Everything he has touched since the “Today Show” has turned to s**t.

    CNN will be no different.

  10. EddieInCA says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I had to pitch to NBC while Zucker was in charge. Great pitch for a series to two Sr. VP’s. Pitch went well. Few days later the note came back, “Jeff wants to do a show with Fire Trucks. You have anything with Fire Trucks?”

  11. merl says:

    CNN decided to make it worse than it was?

  12. merl says:

    @Sejanus: I imagine he’ll trying for both. Or else Callista will be there in the wings keeping an eye on him.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:

    See, this is how big a whore I am: I’d have tried to come up with something involving fire trucks.

    He’s a curmudgeonly old fireman, she’s the long-lost daughter he never knew he had. Now she’s joining the fire department and moving into dad’s house with her wisecracking teen-aged son. I see John Goodman as the curmudgeon, and a Holly Hunter type (but younger and blonder) as the daughter.

  14. NickTamere says:

    @michael reynolds: He is not interesting. He does not have interesting ideas.

    a small-government conservative who wants to colonize the moon and thinks men are “programmed” to hunt giraffes while women get infections in foxholes? You can say he’s dishonest, sleazy, factually incorrect, and generally full-of-shit, but “not interesting” isn’t accurate:)

  15. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: I’d watch that.

  16. NickTamere says:

    “Mr. Zucker, here’s my pitch – CrossFDNY. Get the guys from Ladder 107 discussing gay marriage, the soda ban, etc… while at the same time Newt and co. get airdropped into northern California to combat wildfires.”

    (waits by phone)

  17. al-Ameda says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Few days later the note came back, “Jeff wants to do a show with Fire Trucks. You have anything with Fire Trucks?”

    Proposed note to Jeff:
    Yes I have something with Fire Trucks you. Does that help, Jeff?

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    Meh. Just watch The Five on Fox. And Redeye. And anything else Greg Gutfeld is on.

  19. wr says:

    I’m sure this will be every bit as successful as the last TV classic Zucker brought back, The Bionic Woman.

  20. ernieyeball says:

    @michael reynolds: He’s a big, fat bag of nothing.

    Or as Ren would lambaste Stimpy: “YOU BLOATED SACK of PROTOPLASM!”

  21. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Up with this caterwauling I shall not put!

  22. gVOR08 says:

    Gingrich…has the potential at least to offer interesting ideas.

    I trust you meant “interesting” in the sense of the supposed Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”, i.e. “horrible”.

    To avoid Scarborough I sometimes watch CNN, but only in the morning. Please let this be an evening show.

  23. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Just watch The Five on Fox. And Redeye. And anything else Greg Gutfeld is on.

    If The Five got rid of at least three of the other four, maybe. Give me Red Eye instead.

  24. rudderpedals says:

    @Pinky: Give me Red Eye instead.

    That sounds like a disease. Hope it turns out ok.

  25. anjin-san says:

    Dan Lauria would make a good curmudgeon. Add Danica McKeller with blond hair as the daughter and you have a marketing hook.

  26. Dazedandconfused says:

    CNN should quit pretending and hire Geraldo as their producer-in-chief, IMO.

    Just get it over with….

  27. Gary says:

    It is significant that here and many other googled websites about this new “Crossfire,” both right and left websites, no mention is made that Van Jones is a self-professed Communist.

    Seems like the establishment has censored ALL news outlets about this fact, and is worried that people might get disgusted that CNN is now promoting American TV’s first weekly Communist Anchor.

    But Gee, guess in Obamatron world this isn’t news by now.

  28. James Joyner says:

    @Gary: Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Van Jones is in fact a Communist. Why would that disqualify him from co-hosting a political debate program?

  29. anjin-san says:

    @ Gary

    Seems like the establishment has censored ALL news outlets about this fact,

    Please give the details of this censorship. It must be quite an undertaking to affect ALL news outlets. What is “the establishment” doing to enforce it? Beatings? FEMA camps?

  30. bk says:

    Not only is he a Communist, but for a few months in 2009 he was a CZAR! ooga booga

  31. NickTamere says:

    Seems like the establishment has censored ALL news outlets about this fact

    Do FOX News watchers now consider themselves anti-establishment counter-culture types?

  32. Ken says:

    @Gary: Seems like the establishment has censored ALL news outlets about this fact

    @NickTamere: Do FOX News watchers now consider themselves anti-establishment counter-culture types?

    Nah, that was just a case of accidental honesty, demonstrating that deep down inside even Gary understands that what Fox broadcasts isn’t news.

  33. john425 says:

    The new Crossfire won’t help CNN. It is too far down the road to liberal pandering and it can’t be saved. MSNBC had to reinvent itself by showing prison documentaries on the weekends. CNN could try a religious cooking show, or sumpin.