For the past two or three weeks, there have been no new editions of this series. No new opportunities for potential readers and some of my previous columns are a tad dated.
The same goes for one of CNN’s shows, Crossfire. While Unguarded was also on a hiatus, that is because the show is unwilling to have a substitute host which is relatively okay due to the show’s format as a weekly, more long-form series.
Crossfire didn’t exactly start all that well. Three-fourths of the co-hosts were criticized or hated (S.E. Cupp is the exception) and the mention of the show quickly brought mention of Jon Stewart and his take-down that led to the first Crossfire’s cancellation. The show never took off with the viewers and the show tried several changes, such as going from a “Ceasefire” segment where hosts would find common ground to “Outrage of the Day” where the hosts would share a news story that angered them.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has said that he would pre-empt programming for breaking news coverage. Even though that statement applied to tape programming, Zucker has had no problem shelving Crossfire, often for months at a time. Even when Crossfire is airing, viewers spend their Friday afternoon with a full two hours of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, not that I’m complaining! Putting Crossfire in a schedule category that is mostly cable late-night shows is not the best for Crossfire nor CNN. The only scheduling more irregular is HLN at any time after noon.
Viewers like consistency, the ability to tune in at a certain time on a regular schedule for an extended period of time can best be felt when the ability is not there anymore. I can tune in and watch The Goldbergs every Wednesday every week. There’s an unspoken joy in that.
The same cannot be said for Crossfire, where its absence is starting to outweigh its appearances. Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller reported that Crossfire is on an “extended hiatus.” While this may seem like something we already knew, it’s significant that there is an actual confirmation on the status of the show and that it is grim. Layoffs have also been reported. Although, it is probably for the best. It doesn’t make any sense for the staffers to be around when the hosts have basically been demoted to occasional commentators and, not to sound rude, but hopefully the layoffs can count towards the amount needed for Turner 2020.
Crossfire used to be an institution at CNN. There was weekday Crossfire, weekend Crossfire, and the replicas such as Capital Gang and Evans, Novak, Hunt and Shields. A significant portion of CNN’s programming used to be ideological-hosted panel shows. However, that void has been filled by MSNBC and Fox News. Ignoring the fact that Crossfire 2.0 is much different from the original Braden and Buchanan format of two hosts and one guest “in the Crossfire,” CNN will continue to struggle with Crossfire. However, airing only periodically will certainly not help. Time to either cut it or bring it back permanently, CNN.
Tyler is an employee at TKNN.info, helping to run @TKNNPolJungle. His views are not necessarily held by his employer.