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Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, and Cupp, who most recently appeared on MSNBC’s afternoon program The Cycle, will represent the right. Cutter and Jones, both former Obama advisers, will represent the left.
“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,” Jeff Zucker, president, CNN Worldwide said in a statement. “We look forward to the opportunity to host passionate conversation from all sides of the political spectrum. Crossfire will be the forum where America holds its great debates.”
The program will originate from CNN’s Washington bureau. And all four hosts will contribute to the network’s political and elections coverage.
Gingrich has been without a regular TV perch since Fox News pulled his contributor contract – worth close to $1 million annually – in 2011, when he signaled his intent to run for president. Since last year’s election he has surfaced on CNN, including during the network’s State of the Union coverage last January. Cupp is in the midst of her final week on The Cycle. “We thank S.E. for her great work on MSNBC over the past year and wish her all the best with future opportunities,” the network said in a statement on Wednesday. Cupp will continue to be a contributor on Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze.
Cutter was deputy campaign manager of President Obama’s 2012 re-election bid. Earlier this month she launched strategic consulting firm Precision Strategies along with three colleagues from the campaign. Jones has become a staple on cable news since he resigned in 2009 as Obama’s so-called green jobs czar after it was revealed that his name turned up on a 2004 tuth.org petition calling for an investigation into whether the government deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur. He was also immortalized in YouTube video using a profane word to describe Republicans.
The original Crossfire– which premiered on CNN in 1982 – came to epitomize the deafening shout fests that represented everything that ailed cable news. In the fall of 2004 during an appearance on show to promote his book America (The Book), Stewart famously told then co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala that Crossfire was “hurting America.” By January 2005, CNN executives had yanked the show. Of course, these days Washington infighting is far more vitriolic than anything currently found on cable news. And much of cable news centers on political debate especially in primetime when opinionated hosts dominate Fox News and MSNBC.
Added Ken Jautz, executive vp, CNN: “Following the successful launches of Around the World, The Lead with Jake Tapper, and New Day, we felt it was the right time to turn our attention next to Crossfire. This will be the next step in reinvigorating our lineup of live programs.”
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