The first time it went out with a bang — this time it went out with a whimper; CNN’s Crossfire is no more. Again. The show had been missing in action for weeks and already some of its co-hosts — Stephanie Cutter, Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp and Van Jones — have been popping up as contributors around the network’s landscape. Some staff have been moved to other programs, and the remainder have been encouraged to apply for open positions within the bureau, source say — surprising, given that CNN is in the process of slashing about 300 positions.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Gupta MD is being phased out; Gupta and team will focus on breaking news. Ditto Elizabeth Cohen as the network’s medical unit is restructured — obviously it’s a hot beat right now. CNN Money With Christine Romans is toast; she remains anchor of Early Start and the network’s chief business correspondent. And, Unguarded With Rachel Nichols is history; she will continue as the network’s sole sports anchor, contributing across all platforms and hosting primetime specials. Nichols also continues her role with Turner sports.
But today’s big CNN headline is the cancellation of Crossfire, which had been exhumed in September of ’13, and quickly did not catch on with viewers. It was billed as a more intelligent, less shrill iteration of the old Crossfire, which debuted in 1982 and famously was cancelled in 2005 — not so long after Jon Stewart came on the show, purportedly to promote his new book, but in reality to scold the show’s stunned hosts for “hurting America.”
Crossfire Redux went on the first of its long-ish hiatuses last March, when CNN became obsessed with a vanished airplane, and some thought it was gone for good. Then, in May — just 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 instead abruptly brought Crossfire back, as if to signal to the country that its long CNN missing-plane nightmare was over. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI, and Rep. Karen Bass, D-CA, joined co-hosts Gingrich and Jones, who beamed at the camera as if their producer had brought them good news from a distant land.
But the show was pulled from the schedule again in July — another Malaysian airliner had caught CNN’s interest, and the network just last month said the show would remain on that break for a while, presumably to return in time for the election cycle, which clearly did not happen.