Politico has reported that CNN is talking with Republican Party heavyweight Newt Gingrich and former Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter about hosting a new version of Crossfire.
Say it ain’t so!
It would be a mistake for the embattled network to revive the silly panel show, which ran from 1982 to 2005.
By the end of its run, Crossfire was little more than a forum for irascible talking heads to shout at one another. It was neither interesting nor informative television. Jon Stewart of Comedy Central in particular skewered the show publicly — and he was spot-on.
The idea here is the tired one of pitting a big-shot Republican against a heavy-hitting Democrat and watching the sparks fly. Wow! What will they think of next? This would be must-avoid TV. It sounds like yet another gimmicky attempt by a desperate TV network to create controversy, instead of making a serious attempt at informing the public.
Why does CNN want to bring back a failed show from its now-distant past? The network badly trails Fox in the television ratings and is struggling to fend off MSNBC for second place.
CNN needs to introduce brand new ideas, not debris from a decade ago. The show would launch with a reminder that it failed once before, which is hardly the kind of welcome a new show wants to get.
Yes, Jeff Zucker, the new CNN chief, desperately needs to come up with edgy programs. CNN has to find a spark. But if Zucker thinks Crossfire is the answer, he’s kidding himself.
The viewers want fresh ideas, not retreads. CNN’s reputation took a beating when it bungled a part of the Boston manhunt story and it needs to give the public and the critics something positive to look forward to. This isn’t it.