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. Dave

    I can't wait to hear Van Jones talk about how 9/11 was an inside job.

    June 26, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. dudemeister

    Lol no mention of Jon Stewart being the one that got this show cancelled

    June 26, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Steve Kerr

    And you didn't mention Jon Stewart's appearance on the show? Really? Oh wait, it's your own show.

    Stewart's "intervention" is way more relevant than, say, plastering stories about "Mens Wearhouse firing Zimmer" with links to Megadeth's Mustaine having crappy customer service.

    June 26, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Mike in Tennessee

    So..... Will Jon Stewart get to make another guest appearance? 🙂

    June 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Erik

    Is it going to tape on GWU's campus with a live audience as before?

    June 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. mattk

    I look forward to watching Jon Stewart school the hosts again. Is CNN so desperate to boost their ratings that they'd bring back a show that was cancelled in disgrace?
    Also, CNN cans all of its Investigative Journalist who can bring actual news reports to the limelight but decides to bring back a farce starring Newt Gingrich? Makes perfect sense.

    June 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Dave - Phx

    The show was horrible, idiots yelling over the top of each other and you could never hear the points made. Newt Gingrich, seriously? Enough of this blow hard wind bag.

    June 26, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Dave

    "It's hurting America. Here is what I wanted to tell you guys: Stop... You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably." - Jon Stewart, October 15, 2004

    June 26, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Bob, Kansas City

    Bring back Jack Cafferty.

    June 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Data Driven

    Well, looks like Jon Stewart will have to apply the bug-spray again.

    June 26, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Charles

    All the hosts listed are statists. The political divide in the USA is no longer "Democrat/Republican" but "Authoritarian/Freedom". Americans are united against NSA spying, undeclared wars, IRS harassment, and bailouts.

    I would suggest that people like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul would be far better representatives of America's views on these issues than warmongering elitists like Cutter and Newt.

    June 26, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. O'Dumbama

    CNN has become a Trial & Error News Network. Another Flop Show in Making.

    June 26, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. JohnRJohnson

    Crossfire never left CNN. Instead of news, it now delivers back and forth debates between heavily biased political pundits who routinely distort the facts. The only news that CNN reports objectively is the steady flow of disaster porn it rushes to deliver every time there is a natural event. Can't debate tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes, I suppose.

    June 26, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    what are you thinking cnn ? !
    you're moving backward ? ? ! !

    finally had an investigative report out about some of the worst nonprofits out there. it was great. instead of supporting it and giving it time for readers to read, it gets buried by all the other news.

    just so we're clear, it gets 'buried' on an online site, not some physical paper where column inches were limited, but on your own site where it could have had a freaking 'investigative' tab for all the GOOD stories you do, the few of them that there are

    June 26, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. Louis B Antoine

    Amen! Maybe CNN will get me to watch again after they became Concocted News Network over the past couple of years...

    June 26, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. us_1776

    The last time this was on it was just unintelligible shouting.


    June 26, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    Psst. CNN. Bringing back Crossfire is not going to work. It's the back and forth yelling and foot stomping and party line talking point lies ... America just isn't interested anymore.

    What a freaking joke. Newt Gingrich??????

    June 26, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Ray in L.A.

    Wow! Now instead of two people reciting their parties' talking points for an hour, we'll have four people? I can't wait to suffer through 60 minutes of utterly predictable competing monolgues masquerading as reasoned political discourse. This kind of programming isn't news, it's theater. What the American people need is not partisan analysis–it's for journalists to do their job to the highest standards fo their profession.

    June 26, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. justin

    This is clever. I'm an independent who votes R most the time. But New Gringich it a fat tub of lard. I think he's an embarassment to most Republicans. So if this show helps Newt become the face of the Republican party, then RIP.

    June 26, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Rumi Kabir

    Good decision by the CNN.CROSS FIRE was a good program,I did enjoyed that program the past.

    June 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. john smith

    we'll see if my DVR screws up on recording this program too.....Stephanie....she, my prediction, will be the first to go. She's combative and smart (attorney the hard way I believe) but won't allow others to speak....she'll try and hog air time for her point of view. Hopefully, Crossfire will keep her in check better than the news' talk shows have when she was a guest. I like the forum and wish "all" the best...............

    June 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. Andrew

    Here in Canada we basically have a three party system, and all the news networks here have "Crossfire-type" segments where each of the three parties have their professional spin doctors take pot shots at each other. I can't stand those segments – the format is awful. It is so predictable and churlish.

    If CNN brings back the format I would like to see this: Have people on the segment/show who cross party lines – who break the traditional moulds. There are many people on the left with libertarian streaks. There are also many fiscal conservatives on the left. Similarly, on the right there are people who believe in gay rights and affirmative action. There are those on the right who are appalled at the melding of church and state. And there are people on both the right and the left who are concerned about the lack of campaign finance reform, the broken political system, gerrymandering, and the rise of corporations as some sort of sociopathic super-person who have all the rights of a real person and then some. In otherwords have real people on – smart people who call it as they see it and don't care if it means they aren't going to get invited to the right parties.

    June 26, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. don

    Just when I thought I could watch a CNN program after being absent from the station for many years, you throw Van Jones at me. Show will be unwatchable. Kucinich a much better choice.

    June 26, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. larry wilson

    When you put that clown Newt on it will fail....it sucked then and it will suck more now

    June 26, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. pcappit

    Stephannie Cutter? That woman has never opened her mouth without spewing an outrageous lie. and Van Jones? I guess being a card carrying member of the Communist party certainly qualifies you to be a leftwing pundit.

    June 26, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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