CNN’s “Crossfire” has survived a major post-war shift in the network’s programming schedule though the format was shortened and bumped out of prime time, the network announced Tuesday.
The daily political debate show, which is broadcast live from GW, will now air at 4:30 p.m. and run in a half-hour format. The show will air at its new time beginning Monday.
The change is part of a larger reshuffling at CNN in the wake of the Iraq war. The network will reportedly feature anchor Paula Zhan hosting “American Evening with Paula Zhan,” which will be airing primetime from 7 to 9 p.m., the Associated Press reported.
The network also cut “Connie Chung Tonight” and the audience participation show “TalkBack Live.”
“We are very happy that we are going to be back on the air,” said Mike Freedman, the university’s vice president for communications. “We are still the only university on the planet that has a live daily network show aired from its campus.”
Freedman, a former CBS executive, was philosophical about the change.
“This is part of working with a network. Things change,” Freedman said. “It is part of life in the media. And we are feeling it first hand.”
Crossfire celebrated its one-year anniversary off the air in April, preempted by continuous coverage of the war. The show has produced 250 shows on campus in the past year and drawn more than 43,000 people to the studio audience.
Ratings for the show have been mixed. Since this time last year the show has posted a 33 percent increase in ratings and a 25 percent increase in total number of viewers.
Students said they were disappointed with the show’s time change.
“I wish it was an hour long. I think it’s better publicity for the school. You can’t get in everything you want to say within the half hour,” said senior Bryan Gless.
“If it’s going to be at 4:30, it’s not as accessible to everyone,” said sophomore Katie Esmark. “Most of their audience is students, and it’s going to cut into attracting student attendance and input.”
Many students groups have also attended the show, including the College Republicans and College Democrats, the Honors program and academic classes.
The show features active audience participation in some segments that allow audience members to quiz the hosts. Specific changes about the new format of the show have not yet been announced.
“The bottom line is that the show is back on the air and that our partnership with CNN remains strong,” Freedman said.
Those interested in free tickets for “Crossfire” should e-mail email@example.com.
-Andrea Nurko contributed to this report.
This article appeared in the April 17, 2003 issue of the Hatchet.