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. mc

    Quite honestly, I am shopping for a new news outlet. CNNs has gone after the mass market of ding dongs. I miss the old morning crew on TV. This Irish or Scottish guy is annoying. CNN thinks they can play Anderson Cooper giggling over and over again. I wish I had never heard him giggle, now I can't get that annoying giggle out of my head. Is there a good, traditional news station anymore?

    June 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Mike B

    Great. Four people shouting at once.

    June 26, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. MP in VA

    Another polititainment show featuring blathering party tools blathering on like Charlie Brown's teacher. What a novel concept.

    June 26, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. mc

    CNN, almost every comment mentions John Stewart. Are you listening?

    June 26, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Bravo CNN for reviving Programmes we use to enjoy. BUT be careful with the people you bring in from the right, they can make it a bit or more annoying Programme. Remember those days, people in the Programme were more sensible.
    So no care needs to be taken for choosing guests from the left? Let's just wait and see how this plays out before we start placing limits on CNN concerning their OWN show!

    June 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Tree Rollins

    CNN's Crossfire: Hurting America Again!

    June 26, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. VC

    What about Michael Kinsley? I can't believe CNN forgot to mention him. He was the best and most moderate host that show had!!

    June 26, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Thomas

    Great... another pissing contest made for TV.

    June 26, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Thomas

    This is even worse than it first sounded!

    June 26, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. ratherbboating

    I hope they are not taking off one of the cooking shows and replacing them with this.

    June 26, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Steven C

    Right I'll jump on the bandwagon too.

    Didn't Jon Stewart of the Daily Show utterally destroy the premise and the hosts of this show back when he appeared on it in 2004 leading to it's cancellation?

    Can't wait to hear The Daily Shows' take on this.

    June 26, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Sara

    Great, the "great" CNN further the narrative of being part of a "right-wing" propaganda network. All Americans be aware that CNN is not the station that once employed credible journalist. Ted Turner and Bernard Shaw must be Shaking his head right about now at the thought of Newt Gingrich, Erin Burnett and the other right-wingnuts masquerading as journalist. Don't watch CNN anymore after growing up with them.

    June 26, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. N Walsh

    Get rid of New Day it sucks its so bad I wont even leave it on for the dog.

    June 26, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Tim Jordan

    Might be more fun if they turned it into a tag team wrestling match between opposing political sides. Can't get much worse than it is now.

    June 26, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. TM

    I really hoping they'll save all of us some time and just book Jon Stewart as their first guest.

    June 26, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. ST

    I really enjoyed this programme those days in early 80s, though I was still at school. This programme teached me how to love politics. I have not mentioned to be careful of the left, as the host from the right are the ones who played in a very, very good manner and a respectful way. This kind of behaviour you can not find from the right nowadays. They are behaving on their own way different it was in the 80s. Would you mind if I mention people like: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and the Tea Party et al!

    June 26, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. The DeMBA

    I love how CNN posts this as an article when it reads more like a press release than journalism. Anyone reading this would be hard pressed to understand how such a fantastic program could have been cancelled in the first place; would never know that one of the "entertainers" was Jon Stewart who gave the show a legendary takedown.

    Anyone step in the long decline of CNN.

    June 26, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. sg9461

    So is it a coincidence that CNN is announcing this while Jon Stewart's not around?

    June 26, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Albert760

    This show was cancelled in the first place for a reason.

    June 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. CARLOS

    I wonder if consumers are still moving their money form the banks to credit unions, just saying..

    June 26, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Shaun

    This is the last straw. You take Roland Martin off and put that vile Newt Gingrich on? After being a loyal Today Show watcher for 20 years, I was disgusted with Matt Lauer's antics to get Ann Curry off the air and I couldn't watch him any longer. I switched to Starting Point with Solidad O'Brien and loved it! Then, former Today show execs came and showed the same sort of mean-spiritedness to remove the black people from the show. Overall, I'm VERY disappointed with CNN's new direction and how it's snubbing minority voices (and I'm white!). Get it together CNN or I'm gone for good.

    June 26, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Phil

    Nooooooooo! I thought we had rid ourselves of this bifurcated minutia! Please, CNN. Don't do this.

    Jon Stewart may have to come back to the daily show just to deal with this.

    If you don't know what I'm referring to, please google John Stewart crossfire.

    June 26, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. maybecomeback

    Sounds like CNN is trying to correct its previous mistake of cheer-leading the liberal agenda by getting Jake, Newt and SE Cupp. I might just begin watching again.

    June 26, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Listening is a Skill

    Gingrich is an interesting choice. The trouble is, no one will get a word in edge-wise on him, he will just talk over people and not acknowledge their points.

    June 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Robo

    The conservatives are represented by the famous tag team of Two Chins and a Cupp. This cannot end well.

    Can Jon Stewart please be the first guest so we can sink this horror show from the get go?

    June 26, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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