CNN is replacing Campbell Brown's prime-time news show with a chat-fest hosted by disgraced ex–New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and "rational" conservative columnist Kathleen Parker. Can a politician best known for frequenting prostitutes and a Pulitzer Prize–winner best known for sometimes bucking conservative orthodoxy save CNN from its ratings free-fall — without sacrificing its avowed just-the-facts middle road between Fox News and MSNBC? (Watch a local report about Eliot Spitzer's image management)
What was CNN thinking? CNN's tanking because while Fox proved that "propaganda is more compelling than news" and MSNBC proved that "some American are liberals," says Alex Pareene in Salon, CNN insists on presenting both sides of every issue, without "explaining what is actually 'true.'" So "more balance," from a famous john and a Republican who once trashed Sarah Palin, is a terrible idea.
"Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker to host 'Crossfire: The Next Generation'"
CNN hit the sweet spot: Spitzer especially is "a great, flashy choice" who will "generate all the electricity" the show needs, says DailyFinance columnist Jeff Bercovici, as quoted in Politico. And the "pretty sedate" Parker should contribute to a "real exchange of ideas" without making the conversation a "snoozefest." If they can keep the "level of stridency" fairly low, this show's benefits "should trickle down" to the rest of the CNN lineup.
"CNN's risky balancing act"
Spitzer wins, even if CNN doesn't: Look, "if CNN decides that the route to prime time goes through the doors of the Emperor's Club," says James Poniewozik in Time, that's their business. But Spitzer comes off as "grating and supercilious" on TV, so it looks like they're hiring him because of his sex scandal "buzz," not despite it. "Icky." So while I'm not convinced a Spitzer-Parker "Crossfire" retread "will be good for CNN,... it's great for Eliot Spitzer."
"Who do you have to sleep with to get a CNN show? Ask Eliot Spitzer!"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How to deep fry a turkey
- How to stop Black Thursday — and still score that big screen
Subscribe to the Week