Thursday, January 06, 2005

Three Cheers for Jon Stewart! CNN Cancels Crossfire, Dumps Carlson

Maybe Jon Stewart should tell off talking heads more often.

CNN has canceled its long-running shoutfest, Crossfire. Meanwhile, Tcuker Carlson, the bowtie-sporting conservative pundit, whom Stewart called a "dick" and accused of spreading "partisan hackery" and "hurting America" during their infamous exchange on Crossfire, did not have his contract renewed by the network.

As reported on JABBS on Tuesday, Carlson appears likely to go to MSNBC (see, where he would take over apolitical Deborah Norville's 9 p.m. slot.

CNN allowed Carlson to substitute for NewsNight host Aaron Brown last week, but CNN president Jonathan Klein was unimpressed. "His career aspirations and our programming needs just don't synch up," Klein told the Associated Press. "He wants to host his own nighttime show and we don't see that in the cards here."


When Stewart, host of Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart, told Carlson and co-host Paul Begala off, to their faces, it was a great moment in punditry. Stewart said what so many media critics and viewers already knew -- bickering and spin does not make great television, nor great debate.

Klein agreed.

"I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp," Klein said. "I doubt that when the President sits down with his advisers they scream at him to bring him up to date on all of the issues. I don't know why we don't treat the audience with the same respect."

According to Nielsen Media Research, Crossfire only averaged 447,000 viewers daily this season, down a whopping 21 percent from last season. The 22-year-old program will likely become a short segment during CNN's Inside Politics.


The bad news, however, is that Carlson's fellow conservative on Crossfire, Robert Novak, will remain a guest commentator for the network. Novak, who has historically never let the facts get in the way of partisan GOP spin, also has his semi-regular gig on NBC's Meet the Press.

Maybe Stewart can go toe-to-toe with him someday. Daily Show viewers already know that Stewart considers Novak the punditry version of the anti-Christ.


As for MSNBC, how about this p.r. disaster? Instead of "wooing" Carlson from rival CNN, they're getting someone not good enough for rival CNN. It's sort of like when UPN picks up a sitcom that's been canceled by one of the major networks.

Sloppy seconds seldom impress, which is why MSNBC will likely remain the low man on the cable news totem pole.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh do i hate the screaming shows like this. Although Stewart came off as an ass on the show, atleast he portrayed his true feelings. we need more centrist shows or at least shows that have people from all sides intelligently arguing points. Brit Humes roundtable comes to mind although i am sure you would rather pick different participants. but the tone is correct.

4:28 PM  

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