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‘Crossfire’s Back!

By | Thursday May 1, 2014 @ 4:57pm PDT

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Just when you thought that what CNN‘s Missing Malaysian Airliner story really needed to liven things up was a fluid ounce of weed killer scientifically administered to some of the talking heads, the network abruptly brought back Crossfire this evening, as if to signal to the country that its long cable-news nightmare was over. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI, and Rep. Karen Bass, D-CA, joined co-hosts Newt Gingrich and Van Jones, who beamed at the camera as if their producer had brought them good news from a distant land. Crossfire had been off the air since March 11, when CNN latched on to the story of the passenger plane that mysteriously vanished somewhere en route to Beijing, and hung on for dear life as ratings soared — well, compared to CNN’s earlier ratings anyway. And, though there had been some speculation CNN chief Jeff Zucker would use the missing plane saga to quietly kill his ratings-challenged Crossfire relaunch, the network seemed to stifle that talk at its April upfront presentation when it unveiled Crossfire Reloaded among the series from its new CNN Digital Studios. At some point CNN needed Crossfire to come back, if only for congressional booking purposes — politicians do like to see themselves on cable news network shows — which, yes, factored into the decision to bring back the show, which happened tonight.

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CNN Chief Jeff Zucker: “We Have Had A Really Good Year”

By | Tuesday December 24, 2013 @ 2:39pm PST

Jeff-Zucker-NBC__130115225823CNN Worldwide chief Jeff Zucker, who is about to celebrate his first anniversary at the news gathering organization, touted his addition of Anthony Bourdain‘s show and the documentary Blackfish in a holiday memo to staffers, but gave a miss to any discussion of  his new morning program, or the return of Crossfire.

“In 2013, CNN was recognized with three News Emmys, and two first-ever prime time Emmys for Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, as well as a Peabody Award for our coverage in Syria,” Zucker wrote. “And heading into 2014, CNN Films is on the short list for an Academy Award in the Documentary category for Blackfish. In our first year of even having a film division!”

He promised to pick up the pace on his program to broaden the definition of news programming in calendar year 2014. “If you thought we did a lot in 2013, wait until you see 2014,” Zucker wrote. “Real change that transforms an organization doesn’t happen overnight. I have talked a lot about broadening the definition of news. You have seen the start of that, especially at CNN, where we have begun to introduce new series, documentaries and films to augment our best-in-class breaking news coverage.”
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Obama Taps CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Co-Host For Arts Committee

By | Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 7:04pm PST

Stephanie Cutter just got another new job today thanks to President Obama. Just over two and a half months since the former White House staffer debuted on CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire with co-hosts Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones, Cutter is back working for her old boss – at least partially. Obama Tuesday named his former Deputy Campaign Manager as a Member for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.  “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” said Obama in a statement announcing Cutter’s appointment and several others today. With the political consultant as one of its four rotating hosts, Crossfire came back after 8 years odd the air on September 9 this year with modest ratings. A low impact patronage post, the Committee traditionally has the current First Lady as its Honorary Chair and Michelle Obama serves in that capacity for her husband’s administration. Cutter was Mrs. Obama’s Chief of Staff during the 2008 campaign. Read More »

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CNN’s Relaunched ‘Crossfire’ Hits Viewer & Demo Low

By | Tuesday November 5, 2013 @ 2:36pm PST

Looks like troubles come in threes for CNN lately. First the cable news company had its worst single primetime in over a year on October 30, then it had its worst week since Jeff Zucker took over and now the relaunched Crossfire has hit new lows. Resuscitated on September 9 after eight years off the air, the political debate show pulled in just 233,00 viewers overall and a mere 59,000 among adults 25-54 between 6:30 PM and 7 PM on Monday. Full-hour time-slot rivals on Fox News Channel and MSNBC did a lot better — to put it mildly. FNC’s Special Report had 2.44 million viewers with 411,000 in the key news demo, while MSNBC’s Al Sharpton-hosted PoliticsNation had 707,000 total viewers and 170,000 among the 25-54s.

Related: CNN Falls To Lowest Daily Primetime In Over A Year
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CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Premiere Ratings Modest

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 1:50pm PDT

Back after eight years off the air, CNN’s Crossfire didn’t exactly set the ratings ablaze on Monday. With Wolf Blitzer’s interview with President Barack Obama on Syria as a lead-in, the Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter-hosted half-hour show came in second among adults 25-54 and third in overall viewership against its cable news rivals. Between 6:30 PM and 7 PM, Jeff Zucker’s resuscitated political debate show pulled in 171,000 viewers in the demo and 581,000 overall. While better by 21% in the demo and 44% in total viewers than The Situation Room has done over the past four Mondays, Crossfire was way behind Fox NewsSpecial Report With Bret Baier in both categories. The FNC show had 384,000 viewers among adults 25-54 and 2.4 million in overall viewers. While MSNBC’s Al Sharpton-hosted Politics Nation was behind the heavily promoted CNN show in the demo with 116,000, it was solidly ahead in total viewers with 617,000 watching.

Related: CBS Snubs Obama Syria Interview For U.S. Open Final

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Newt Gingrich: Not Possible To Make “Neutral” Docu On Hillary Clinton

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 4:03pm PDT

Discussing his latest career move as star of CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire, a few days before its launch, Newt Gingrich said it is not possible to make a “neutral” documentary about Hillary Clinton. Which is just what his new network has proposed to do. Asked his thoughts on the Republican National Committee’s decision last month to block CNN from GOP presidential primary debates during the 2016 election cycle because it is working on a Clinton docu, Gingrich said he thought CNN — and NBC, which has said it is developing a Hillary Clinton miniseries — should offer equal time. “I actually don’t believe you can create a neutral documentary about Hillary Clinton,” Gingrich said. Gingrich never did say what he thought about the RNC’s decision to block CNN from the GOP primary debates; the RNC also voted to block NBC from the debates because of its Clinton miniseries project, which Gingrich also called a “documentary.

“I don’t see it as a giant deal,” he said of the CNN docu, adding, “I don’t think Hillary’s survival or failure are going to rest on these two documentaries.”

Related: CNN’s New ‘Crossfire’ To End With Kumbaya Moment
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CNN’s New ‘Crossfire’ To End With Kumbaya Moment

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 3:17pm PDT

CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire unveils tonight with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter debating with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as to whether Congress should approve a military air strike on Syria. The show will premiere as the commercial broadcast networks are airing their interviews with President Obama on the same subject — and CBS airs yet more footage of Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad, in which Assad warns the U.S. to “expect everything” in retaliation if an air strike occurs.

Related: CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Offers Viewer Voting Using Poptip Technology

And yet, Crossfire’s Van Jones told reporters on the eve of the show’s return to CNN that Syria is exactly why the U.S. needs Crossfire, “so people can have these debates and we can hear the best from both sides,” he said modestly in a conference call. Jones, a former special adviser to President Obama, gave reporters a taste of his Crossfire style on the phone call, when he was asked why Obama is seeking congressional approval for an air strike on Syria in response to White House claims that Assad used chemical weapons on civilians last month.
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CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Offers Viewer Voting Using Poptip Technology

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 10:23am PDT

In what it’s billing as a first for a TV news program, CNN’s Crossfire will offer viewer voting using Poptip technology that tallies votes of the program’s daily debate question. Via Twitter using #CrossfireReturns, on CNN’s live blog, or by commenting to the show’s Facebook page, users will be able vote in real time. Results will be announced during the program, which premieres tonight at 6:30 ET after its launch was moved up a week. CNN boasted the deal will allow viewers of the resuscitated debate franchise to choose their interactive second-screen experience via Twitter, Facebook, or CNN.com/Crossfire to vote via mobile, tablet, or desktop platform and weigh in on the issues debated on the program. From today’s announcement: Read More »

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CNN Moves Up ‘Crossfire’ Launch

By | Sunday September 1, 2013 @ 9:15am PDT

CNN‘s resuscitated Crossfire was set to return to the network on Monday, September 16. Instead the half-hour political debate show will premiere a week early to get in on Syria coverage, debuting September 9 at 6:30 PM ET according to a network Tweet.

Related: Big Four Networks Break In For President Obama’s Address On Syria

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CNN Samples Resuscitated ‘Crossfire’: VIDEO

By | Wednesday August 14, 2013 @ 7:20am PDT

In case you were wondering what the half-hour remake of CNN’s resuscitated Crossfire would sound/look like, two of its regulars – Stephanie Cutter on the left and S.E. Cupp on the right — visited Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room to give viewers a taste yesterday. They “discussed” voter fraud. It sounded like cats in a bag. CNN’s most anticipated series debuts  Monday, September 16 at 6:30 PM ET — now starring, most notably, former Speaker of the House and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. The political gabfest previously aired weeknights from 1982-2005, and is maybe best remembered these days for the time Jon Stewart appeared on the show in October 2004, ostensibly to promote his book America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction, but mostly to tell the show’s talking heads that the program was “hurting America. Here is what I wanted to tell you guys: Stop… You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.” Watch here:

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CNN To Launch Overhauled ‘Crossfire’ Same Night ABC Launches Overhauled ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Tapping into viewer interest that gets ginned up around the start of the broadcast network TV season, Jeff Zucker’s CNN announced this morning it’ll launch some of its most interesting new programs on Monday, September 16. That’s the week walking up to the start of the broadcast TV network’s official 2013-14 TV season, and a week in which some of the broadcasters’ new products are unveiling. CNN’s most anticipated new series, a half-hour remake of Crossfire, debuts that Monday, September 16 at 6:30 PM ET – which, in one of those incredible coincidences, is the same night ABC launches the remake of its dance competition series Dancing With The Stars.

It’s also the same night Fox unveils its remake of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleep Hollow, in which Ichabod Crane is now a badass action hero, returned to save us from apocalypse. Similarly, this time Crossfire stars Newt Gingrich. Joining him: Stephanie Cutter, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones. CNN said the show will “resemble the show’s original format with passionate conversation” – or, as Jon Stewart called it back in 2004, “partisan hackery” that was “hurting America.”  CNN, understandably, focused on Crossfire having “cemented its status in the political and cultural lexicon” when President Bill Clinton joked during his remarks at the 1997 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner that the newly opened Newseum featured an exhibit with “CNN’s very first Crossfire: from the … Read More »

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Lionsgate To Adapt ‘Crossfire’ Romantic Novels Into TV Series

By | Monday August 5, 2013 @ 9:36am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Lionsgate has optioned the rights to the bestselling Crossfire series of romantic novels by Sylvia Day to turn them into a TV series. The Crossfire adult novel franchise, which has sold over 12 million copies since its debut last year, centers on Eva Tramell, a young up-and comer in the advertising world, and billionaire businessman, Gideon Cross who are both trying to overcome their devastating and abusive pasts. As they are intensely drawn to one another, both physically and emotionally, the two must find a way to heal each other in order to move on and establish a healthy romantic relationship. “Sylvia has created an enduring, sexy and edgy story, and we’re looking forward to working with her to create a show that both excites and connects with audiences as her books have done,” said Lionsgate TV EVP Chris Selak, who will oversee the development of the project. So far, there are three novels in the Crossfire series, Bared To You, Reflected In You and Entwined With You, with a fourth, Captivated By You, set for release in late 2013-early 2014. Lionsgate’s book-to-screen adaptations include the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black on the TV side and the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises in features. Crossfire was brought to Lionsgate by producers Jeremy Bolt of Impact Pictures (Resident Evil) and Stephanie Johnson of Clover Entertainment, with CAA brokering the deal of behalf … Read More »

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CNN’s Rebecca Kutler To Exec Produce Overhauled ‘Crossfire’

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 7:31am PDT

CNN veteran Rebecca Kutler will executive produce the resuscitated Crossfire, the cable news network announced this morning. Kutler, who began her CNN career in its Washington bureau more than a decade ago, previously did a stint as executive producer of John King USA. The network announced last month it would exhume the long-running (1982-2005) franchise, famously savaged by Jon Stewart on the show when he said it was “hurting America” and failing “miserably” in its “responsibility to the public discourse.” It was cancelled not long after. Kutler will exec produce a show that this time features former Speaker of the House and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, and S.E. Cupp, a conservative columnist, commentator and author of the book Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack On Christianity. On the left: Stephanie Cutter, a partner at consulting firm Precision Strategies which was launched earlier this month with three veterans from the Obama 2012 campaign team. Also on the left: Van Jones, the Yale-educated author of The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild The Dream who is founding president of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that promotes innovative policy solutions for the U.S. economy.

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CNN Revives ‘Crossfire’ With Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter And Van Jones

By | Wednesday June 26, 2013 @ 6:46am PDT

CNN’s cancelled Crossfire has officially risen (as we told you back in April) like the phoenix from the ashes and will return to the network’s schedule this fall. This time, the political right will be represented by former Speaker of the House and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, and S.E. Cupp, a conservative columnist, commentator and author of the book Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack On Christianity. On the left: Stephanie Cutter, a partner at consulting firm Precision Strategies which was launched earlier this month with three veterans from the Obama 2012 campaign team. Also on the left: Van Jones, the Yale-educated author of The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild The Dream who is founding president of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that promotes innovative policy solutions for the U.S. economy.

“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,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said in today’s announcement.

The political screechfest previously aired weeknights from 1982-2005. Jon Stewart famously appeared on the show in October 2004, ostensibly to promote his book America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction, but mostly to slam the show. “It’s hurting America. Here is what I wanted to tell you guys: Stop… You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.” Stewart said calling Crossfire a debate show was “like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.” The appearance went viral and the show’s days were numbered.

Here’s the release: Read More »

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CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ Back In June; Cancelled In 2005

By | Saturday April 6, 2013 @ 3:44pm PDT

After the failed week long experiment of (Get To) The Point and the unsteady The Lead With Jake Tapper, Jeff Zucker is looking for a blast from the past to revive CNN. The ratings-struggling cable new network is bringing back Crossfire in June, network insiders tell me. No hosts have been chosen yet, the sources say. Nor is it clear if the show will definitely remain a half hour, as the original Crossfire was, or go longer. Right now it seems that Crossfire 2.0 is slated to have a variety of CNN personalities and contributors taking up the “left” and “right” roles on the new version of the political debate show. A CNN standard almost from the begining, Crossfire ran on the network in both daytime and primetime from 1982 until it was cancelled in 2005. Crossfire isn’t the first piece of CNN history Zucker has brought back since taking over in January. The former Today show producer reinstalled James Earl Jones’ traditional “This is CNN” promo voiceover in his first week in his new gig.

Related: Jon Stewart Slams Jeff Zucker & CNN’s “Spiral Downward”
Related: Kate Bolduan Named CNN Morning Show Co-Host

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