CNN’s retooled Crossfire show debuted Monday, September 9, with some heavy political lead in, but still did not set the cableverse on fire with its ratings.
Wolf Blitzer interviewed President Obama before the debut. Nonetheless, the new show’s ratings did not set the world ablaze.
After an 8-year hiatus, the new Crossfire headed up by Newt Gingrich and liberal Stephanie Cutter did come in second in the crucial 25-54 demographic, but was only third overall.
The debate show re-launched by new CNN chief Jeff Zucker earned 171,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic and had 581,000 overall. This was far better than CNN’s The Situation Room, the show Crossfire replaced, did on Mondays, but still came nowhere near Fox News’ viewership.
Fox’ Special Report With Bret Baier hit 384,000 viewers in the key 25-54 age bracket while having 2.4 million viewers tuning in.
Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show did worse than either show in the key demographic with 116,000 viewers, yet Sharpton did top the new Crossfire with 617,000 total viewers.
The original 1980s Crossfire series started life as a Tom Braden/Pat Buchanan-hosted radio show which began in 1978. Soon it migrated to cable TV and during its twenty-three-year history, Crossfire had over a dozen co-hosts. The show was often criticized for its hard-charging style.
In fact, Crossfire ended only months after Comedy Central comedian Jon Stewart criticized it for “hurting America” with its “miserable” example of public discourse.
Crossfire was canceled in 2005 after final conservative co-host Tucker Carlson left the network for a short stint at MSNBC.