June 26th, 2013
09:11 AM ET
5 years ago

‘Crossfire’ coming back to CNN

Washington (CNN) – An institution is coming back to CNN.

“Crossfire,” the long-running political debate show that aired on CNN from 1982-2005, is getting a reboot, the news network announced Wednesday. Four new hosts – two on the left, and two on the right - will debut the program this fall.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who made a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, will host on the right alongside S.E. Cupp, the conservative columnist who currently co-anchors “The Cycle,” a television program on MSNBC.

On the left, President Barack Obama’s former deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter will host next to Van Jones, another former Obama adviser who later founded Rebuild the Dream, a group that fosters innovative economic policy.

The foursome will also appear on CNN during special coverage of political events and elections.

Debuting two years after the founding of CNN, “Crossfire” was originally hosted by conservative Pat Buchanan and liberal Tom Braden. Later its hosts included Robert Novak, Tucker Carlson, James Carville, Paul Begala and Bill Press. Also joining the list of notable co-hosts were former New Hampshire Gov, John Sununu, Michael Kinsley, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, and 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. The nation’s top political figures were guests on the show, as were a slate of preeminent entertainers, sports stars and business leaders.

“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,” Jeff Zucker, CNN Worldwide’s president, said Wednesday. “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.”

During its more than twenty year run, “Crossfire” became must-see-T.V. for politicians and political observers alike. In 1997 – during Gingrich’s own tenure as House speaker – President Bill Clinton joked about the program’s longevity during his speech to that year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner.

Clinton remarked the first episode was hosted “From the left, Alexander Hamilton, from the right, Aaron Burr. Topic - gun control.”

Wednesday’s announcement comes after a slate of new programming for CNN, including a recently launched morning show “New Day,” and the afternoon, Washington-based program “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

After getting those shows off the ground, “We felt it was the right time to turn our attention next to Crossfire,” said Ken Jautz, executive vice president of CNN. “This will be the next step in reinvigorating our lineup of live programs.”

Filed under: CNN • Crossfire
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Steven

    As long as the lessons learned from Jon Stewart are not forgotten. Don't play us dumb and use the same formula from a decade ago. If it's a better debate, i'll watch every show.

    June 26, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. BytraWatches

    OK, so when does it start, oh that's right, the lack of good journalist for this company forgot that one minor fact to include in their story. What idiots there are working for this company these days!!! Ted, why did you ever give up control on what was the most respected news agency in the business?

    June 26, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Hogarth

    This was the worst thing about CNN, and now you're bringing it back. Jon Stewart was right; you're hurting America.

    June 26, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. budshot

    Who was the 'genius' at CNN who made this decision?? You just want to keep making things worse for CNN? Gingrich?!? All that guy has to offer are lies and misdirections. Most of the problems this country suffers from politically right now and the complete ineffectiveness of Congress can be laid at his feet.

    June 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. grist

    Interesting that they announce this when John Stewart is out of the country!

    June 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Jake

    "An institution is coming back to CNN."

    More like an asylum.

    CNN is becoming a circus under Jeff Zucker; not that it was an especially stellar example of journalism before he took the helm, either.

    June 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Rob C

    I can't wait to hear what John Stewart says.

    June 26, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. BahoPuwet

    I used to enjoy CNN Headline News. Now it's a tabloid TRASH station.
    What happened ?????? Next, they'll have Kimye East & West becoming a talking head on this gossip garbage filled station.

    June 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Daniel

    Jon Stewart didn't embarrass you guys enough the first time?

    June 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. V-Dawg

    Jon Stewart should come on the show again to knock it off the air.

    June 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. eric

    So it's the same old Left v. Right arguments as every other show. Why would I watch this?

    June 26, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. eric

    p.s. .... many, many, many of us are sick of the Left and Right .... how about some new perspectives? How about some new thinkers .... Watch TED talks and get some of those people on a show. I'd watch that!!!

    June 26, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Jeff Kelly

    Welcome to CNN's "CROSSFIRE". For the left, we have Alan Colmes. For the Right, we have James Carville. Now, let's open CNN's version of political pandering.

    June 26, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. pg

    Ginrich to host Crossfire – Has CNN gone completely nuts? Instead of getting better you are going from good to bad to horrible.

    June 26, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. markiejoe

    Gingrich? That would be a no from me. Not watching.

    June 26, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. Richard Farmer

    It's unfortunate that CNN continues to slide backwards into irrelevancy, and there is no better indicator of this than the return of this disaster of a program whose only obvious objective is to exacerbate polarization (rather than inform, which is what a supposed "news program" should do). This, coupled with the fact that CNN has all but eliminated its investigative news division, suggests that CNN is no longer in the news network but is instead a "political commentary" channel. So very sad that this once noble network has fallen so badly, and that management has apparently no new ideas for bringing it back to life!

    June 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Dennis

    Awesome, I can't wait for Jon Stewart to cover this.

    June 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Dennis

    Bring back Tucker and Carville. I loved to watch those guys debate no matter who I thought was right.

    June 26, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. EP Sato

    Crossfire was meant to advance discourse. But mostly it was talking heads of DC yelling over each other. Very little actual debating was done, more like lots of innuendo and half truths without any fact checking.

    Let's also be real about something: The show was taken off the air after Jon Stewart called out Tucker Carlson for the show's lack of substance. So why would CNN bring back this modern day disaster?

    June 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. 2bucs

    I really missed crossfire, I was excited until I heard Newt Gingrich was a host, not watching sorry, the man is a pompous windbag and 90% of everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. It will be a complete waste of time.

    June 26, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Dewey Finn

    Is it a coincidence that CNN waited until Jon Stewart was out of the country before they decided to bring back Crossfire? (If you remember, the show was cancelled after Stewart criticized the show, during an appearance on it.)

    June 26, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. HelloPeopleOfPuttPutt

    No mention of Jon Stewart eh? Or Jonathan Klein? Just back to throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks? Good job CNN...

    " 'Mr. Klein specifically cited the criticism that the comedian Jon Stewart leveled at 'Crossfire' when he was a guest on the program during the presidential campaign. Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were 'hurting America.' Mr. Klein said last night, 'I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart's overall premise.' He said he believed that especially after the terror attacks on 9/11, viewers are interested in information, not opinion.' "

    June 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. Philip

    PLEASE tell us this is replacing Piers Morgan...

    June 26, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. Chuck

    LOL... they waited until Jon Stewart was on sabbatical to announce this.

    June 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. Adam Saben

    I loved that show! A show that doesn't "dumb it down" like reality TV. Good for you, CNN.

    June 26, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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