View Full Version : Jon Stewart killed CNN's Crossfire

01-07-2005, 11:35 AM
Or so the President of the Network is making it seem.

Growing up I can remember watching it all the time, learning about political issues thru the discourse. Now it's just bad television.


CNN Will Cancel 'Crossfire' and Cut Ties to Commentator

Published: January 6, 2005

NN has ended its relationship with the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson and will shortly cancel its long-running daily political discussion program, "Crossfire," the new president of CNN, Jonathan Klein, said last night.

Mr. Carlson said he had actually quit "Crossfire" last April and had agreed to stay on until his contract expired. He said he had a deal in place for a job as the host of a 9 p.m. nightly talk program on MSNBC, CNN's rival.

One NBC News executive said that no deal had been completed between MSNBC and Mr. Carlson. "Tucker is a great journalist and we are exploring options with him for a 9 p.m. job," said Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for MSNBC.

"I don't know what CNN is saying," Mr. Carlson said. "But I have no dispute with CNN."

Mr. Klein said the decisions to part company with Mr. Carlson and to end "Crossfire" were not specifically related, because he had decided to drop "Crossfire" regardless of whether Mr. Carlson wanted to stay on.

Mr. Klein said, "We just determined there was not a role here in the way Tucker wanted his career to go. He wanted to host a prime-time show in which he would put on live guests and have spirited debate. That's not the kind of show CNN is going to be doing."

Instead, Mr. Klein said, CNN wants to do "roll-up-your-sleeves storytelling," and he said that was not a role he saw for Mr. Carlson. "There are outlets for the kind of show Tucker wants to do and CNN isn't going to be one of them," he said.

Mr. Klein said he wanted to move CNN away from what he called "head-butting debate shows," which have become the staple of much of all-news television in the prime-time hours, especially at the top-rated Fox News Channel.

"CNN is a different animal," Mr. Klein said. "We report the news. Fox talks about the news. They're very good at what they do and we're very good at what we do."

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.

"Crossfire" may be continued "in small doses" as part of the political coverage on CNN's other programs, Mr. Klein said.

Mr. Klein said he intended to keep CNN's highest-rated program, "Larry King Live," much as it is because Mr. King does not do "head-butting debate" but "personality-oriented television."

The rest of CNN's prime-time lineup will be moving toward reporting the day's events and not discussing them, he said.

Mr. Klein said he had no intention of changing that approach, but he added a caveat. "Not unless the first batch of things we're trying to do don't turn out well," he said.

01-07-2005, 12:42 PM
I haven't watched much of Crossfire since Pat Buchanan & Tom (last name slips me) were the "debators". Those guys were the Crossfire innovators. Since then I have not had much interest in the other mouthpieces.

The original guy from the left was the basis for the "Eight Is Enough" TV show if I am not mistaken. Or something like that!

01-07-2005, 12:50 PM

I wish someone would do a real debate show modeled on high school debate team rules. Done with intelligent adult I think it would a hit. But, then again, I'm naive.

01-07-2005, 12:58 PM
Thanks, Rojo. I could see his always tanned face in my mind. I really enjoyed Crossfire back in those days.

01-07-2005, 01:15 PM
Hopefully it stays dead.

Jon Stewart dressing down Tucker Carlson may be the single greatest thing I've ever seen on television.

01-07-2005, 02:19 PM
I must agree. No matter what your political viewpoint, that segment had a great train wreck, nobody knows what's happening feel to it you so rarely get to see on TV.

01-07-2005, 02:21 PM
Maybe Jon Stewart has a future as a programming executive if his analysis of a competing network's programming carries so much weight. :rolleyes:

Personally, I would expect that Jonathan Klein was 100% truthful when he said/implied that the decision has more to do with ratings, focus groups and the shift in the marketplace than any talent-driven factors.

Rojo, I think you might find some of the kind of debate that you're looking for on one of the C-SPAN channels. IMHO there are nuggets of gold to be found on C-SPAN, but also plenty of gravel.

01-07-2005, 02:31 PM
Maybe Jon Stewart has a future as a programming executive if his analysis of a competing network's programming carries so much weight.

I'd rather see him elected president myself, but head of a major network would be nice too. :thumbup: