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Here's What CNN's "Crossfire" Reboot Is Doing Right... So Far

The reviews are in, and the critics predictably hate the new Crossfire. It's only been a week and it ain't all bad!

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1. Existing. Cable news junkies like to watch partisans opine. Deal with it...CNN is.

The majority of this great nation's media critics hated the idea of Crossfire's return when it was announced. That's natural, since actually watching cable news is way down on the list of what media critics like to do. The average cable news junkie, on the other hand, seems to enjoy opinion-based programming. Take a look at this chart from the Pew Research Center and you'll see that super opinionated networks like MSNBC and FOX have been growing since 2005, while CNN, which decided to go down the "newsy" route, saw no growth in audience.

2. The 6:30 EST time slot.

Do you think that news and politics junkies, who have been obsessively monitoring Twitter and Facebook all day long, want to watch the major networks try to cram a bunch of stuff they already know into a half-hour broadcast? CNN doesn't.

3. Limiting the show to only 30 minutes.

This is the perfect amount of time for Crossfire's current format. The only way an hour could possibly work is if CNN brought in the other two hosts off the bench, along with two fresh guests, to debate a totally different topic. Actually, that's not a bad idea.


4. Debuting earlier than it was supposed to.

After cable news slogged through several weeks of a fairly boring political news cycle, the crisis in Syria provided the producers of Crossfire with a controversial topic which forced partisans on both sides to take stances that are all over the map. It was a perfect time to get the show rolling, and, so far, Crossfire has beat its closest competition, MSNBC's Politics Nation, in the demo every day since its debut.

5. Bringing S.E. Cupp into prime time.

Cupp, who is a veteran of super-late night Fox News programming, and the super-dead zone of MSNBC daytime, is ready to make her mark. Although only appearing in one broadcast since the show's debut, she's easily the strongest of the new batch of Crossfire hosts. It's only a matter of time before she's helming her own show in primetime, so enjoy her in the crossfire while you can.

Senior Writer

Contact Dorsey Shaw at

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