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. Ron L

    When crossfire was on the air I watched it those many years ago. I see nothing wrong with its return or CNN announcing it here. IT IS Political News because it will be a political show. Having said that I hope they do a better job than some of the current political shows in which the hosts seem more interested in not offending their guest by asking easy questions or they are more interested in getting in as many questions as they can in 6 minutes and some of the answers given are so weak and lame it's embarrassing.

    June 26, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    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.
    Psst, this page is a political blog. It is a *not* a news page.

    June 26, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. MagicPanties

    I don't agree with S.E. Cupp on most things, but she's an avowed atheist so this could be interesting.

    June 26, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Ed Snowden

    A great idea for this show. Have a fence set up between the right and the left. Bring in a moderate to sit on the fence. Then have the right and left pummel the fence sitter until he's unconscious, then have the teams flip a coin to see which side the unconscious person goes to

    June 26, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    It would be nice to hear the opinions of those who are on the extreme left, to include Moslems, Macheteros, TeleSur and the like. There was Hugo Chavez and there was Capriles, but most of the time the only side aired was from Capriles or the Cuban exile. Equal time? Give people BOTH sides of the story so they can make informed decisions instead of being led to believe what is convenient to one side.

    June 26, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. nate in ca

    Jon Stewart is rolling in his grave.

    June 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Scott

    Lol I like how they announced this when Jon Stewart is on vacation

    June 26, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. jmhall2369

    "An institution is coming back to CNN." In all honestly, I think the person(s) who thought it a good idea to resurrect this stuff and keep Newt relevant should be put institutionalized.

    June 26, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Mike in Denver

    I thought Jon Stewart killed off Crossfire.

    June 26, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Dr. Stan

    You know that Jon Stewart's only gone for 3 months, right?

    June 26, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. John Smith


    This didn't work out well last time.

    June 26, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. ga.democrat

    Newt Gingrich. Enough said. This Georgia girl will not be watching!

    June 26, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Fred

    First guest should be....Jon Stewart.

    June 26, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Colin Thompson

    Had to wait until Jon Stewart was out of the country to start all your new programs?

    June 26, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Butch

    I'm asking a serious question: when was the last time N Leroy Gingrich had anything useful to say? I can't think of a single reason I'd watch this program.

    June 26, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Baba Booey

    I won't watch this unless Jon Stewart is the guest.

    June 26, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Steve

    Wow, no mention of the legendary Michael Kinsley? He was the only reason I ever watched that show.

    June 26, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Seen98

    Wait til Jon Stewart comes back on and embarrasses them all. Jon, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher are the only people in television media with any integrity.

    June 26, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Gary Garrison

    Your new morning show is a flop! It comes across as a bunch of kindergarteners flopping around having fun and laughs, but doing nothing in presenting the news in a dignified manner. It is childish, immature, and at some moments idiotic. It has to be a big boost to Robin Meade.

    June 26, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Rod Venem

    The laughing you hear is the FoxNews sheeple claiming Newt & Cupp are clearly not rightwing enough. #windbags

    June 26, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Ted Burke

    This is a very bad idea.Yelling people are bot passionate,they are just yelling.

    June 26, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. noAd

    Old wine in new bottles. Yet another reason to switch to Alternet and kiss CNN goodbye.

    June 26, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. sparky

    Four jobless idiots on a stupid show.

    June 26, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Rod Venem

    Wouldn't a better panel be Rachel Maddow/Ed Schultz versus Rush Limbaugh.Alex Jones?

    June 26, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. billmosby

    You're right, Ted. Besides if all someone wants is to see yelling, they can just watch Piers Morgan when he has a segment on gun control. lol.

    June 26, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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