In what appears to be the equivalent of a “Hail Mary” in football, CNN’s Crossfire did something unusual this week by placing all four co-hosts (SE Cupp, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones, and Stephanie Cutter) on the program at the same time.
CNN called this an “experiment,” but it is an obvious attempt to see if they can mimic the success of The Five on Fox News—and to a lesser extent The Cycle on MSNBC—both of which have multiple co-hosts discussing issues in the news.
Crossfire, which originally ran on CNN from 1982 to 2005, returned last September as a 30-minute show—as opposed to the one-hour original—and was given the last portion of Wolf Blitzer’s timeslot. Both the decision to do only a 30-minute show, and to stuff it into the middle of its early evening lineup, showed a distinct lack of confidence by the network that the show would succeed.
That lack of confidence has been borne out by the program’s ratings, which have been extremely poor, often losing large chunks of Blitzer’s audience. This resulted in CNN putting the program on temporary hiatus while they chased the Malaysian Air flight MH370 story, and better ratings.
So far this week, the co-hosts have appeared together three times, but the ratings haven’t improved. That’s not surprising since it just means there is one more liberal and one more conservative arguing on the air, with little consensus on the issues.
That just makes the program twice as boring as it was before.
Based on this desperate attempt to pump some life into a floundering program, CNN would be better off just canceling Crossfire now and save themselves further ratings misery.