June 26th, 2013
09:11 AM ET
10 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. Matt Davidson

    @Rod – you mean practically the entire country (not sheeple) if you look at the ratings Fox gets over every other cable news network.

    June 26, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. Frank

    Yay! First Crossfire question: Should President Obama pardon James Clapper for committing perjury for lying to congress about NSA data collection?

    June 26, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. Gordon

    Elliott Spitzer would have been great opposite the Newt. I can't wait to hear the CNN "fact checkers" having to run a list of 37 facts Newt made up in each show.

    June 26, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. nightwriter

    Oh good, finally a show that will have liberals and conservatives yelling at each other – how informative this will be.

    June 26, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. whatajoke

    I don't like any of the hosts at all. It wold be a flop program if these hosts are to be permanent.

    June 26, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. penguin

    If CNN wanted true political discourse it would have added a libertarian and a moderate

    June 26, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. S.D. Jeffries

    Newt Gingrich? Seriously? Is this the closest thing to a modern, tuned-in, spokesman for the right CNN could find? No one, as evidenced by the 2012 presidential primary, wants to hear any more of what Newt Gingrich has to say. No one. On any subject.

    June 26, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. grotius

    The old cross fire was just people yelling over each other. It was not informative. It was awful This will be the same. But no matter. I won't watch.

    June 26, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Matt

    better call john stewart! we need him again!

    June 26, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. SuperD

    You lefty morons, Newt is the only reason this show has a chance. If you just shut up and actually listen to what Newt says he's hard to argue against. AND unlike most American's....Newt knows a thing or 2 about the history of this country.

    June 26, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. JP

    You have got to be kidding me. CNN ("the worldwide leader in news") is giving Newt Gringrich a show? This is a joke. It has to be. CNN can't be that stupid. If this trainwreck of a show shares a timeslot with anything related to a Kardashian, it can't last more than a month, as the shows will certainly share the same IQ demographic. Wow, just. . . . wow.

    June 26, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Drew

    Growing up, I was taught at an early age the 5 W's of journalism. Who, what, where, when and why. Opinions was left for colorful commentary. I am 35 years old and have been watching CNN for 20 years and I am thoroughly disgusted at its seemingly slow demise. Hate it or love it, Crossfire was a needed for the frank discussion of views from both sides. But really CNN, Newt??? Don't get me started on "New Day", utter trash. John Stewart we need you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Ron

    These people just don't realize, the people want to listen to the news! Not a bunch of talk shows wher the people don't have anything different to say!How is Jake tapper different then Pierce Morgan, Or Stephonopolous, They are all talk shows that are of no interest. The news around the world is of interest! Leave the talk shows to Letterman and Leno, Jeeezz there is already enough of those talk shows!!!

    June 26, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Nik

    May I suggest that you do not book Jon Stewart on this program lest he bury it again and make everyone look foolish.

    June 26, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. John

    Token Republican vs token Democrate, won't watch it. Agree w/other poster, a 3rd point of view would be refreshing.

    June 26, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Bob Dobalina

    I thought "crossfire" and such words were frowned upon by the left.

    June 26, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Leah

    S.E. Cupp- bad career move for her. She should have looked at the air-life span of most CNN hosts. Newt Gingrich....meh, wont' tune in for that old buzzard.

    June 26, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Ar45

    Chris Mathew could be a better choice on the left.

    June 26, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Allen

    Disgusting. I guess the statute of limitations has run out on shame. Interesting you made this decision when Stewart is off the air.

    June 26, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. jim atmad

    The entire show will consist of Newt Gingrich promoting himself....

    ...mostly lying about how he helped Bill Clinton balance the federal budget (the budget was actually balanced by Democrats who voted to raise taxes early in Clinton's first term without any GOP support).

    June 26, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Fish

    Not even interested with these hosts. Can we say trash TV???

    June 26, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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