CNN to cancel “Crossfire,” may broadcast “Inside Politics” from GW

Posted Thursday, Jan. 6, 6:49 p.m.

University officials said CNN is “planning” to broadcast the show “Inside Politics” at the Jack Morton Auditorium following the cancellation of “Crossfire,” which has aired live from GW since April 2002.

“This opens up more opportunities for GW students,” Mike Freedman, GW’s vice president for Communications, said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “We were thrilled to have ‘Crossfire’ here for three years, and we are most pleased to be continuing (CNN’s) terrific partnership with GW.”

Freedman did not say when “Inside Politics” would begin airing from the School of Media and Public Affairs building. CNN officials have not said when “Crossfire” will broadcast its last show in its current format.

Failing to land another CNN show would mark the loss of a valuable recruiting tool for the University. The 2005 Kaplan/Newsweek college guide dubbed GW the “hottest school for political junkies,” partly because of its affiliation with “Crossfire,” and dozens of students volunteer and intern for the show.

Thursday marked the final day on “Crossfire” for conservative host Tucker Carlson, who did not receive a new contract offer from CNN. He announced on the air that he is “moving to another network,” presumably MSNBC.

CNN president Jonathan Klein told The New York Times that the decisions to let go of Carlson and cancel the show were not necessarily related.

“Crossfire” had been the subject of some criticism in recent months, most notably from comedian Jon Stewart, who blasted the show and its hosts when he was a guest in October.

“What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery,” Stewart told Carlson and liberal host Paul Begala. “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.”

Klein told The Times he agreed with Stewart’s “overall premise” and added that the show may be continued as an occasional segment on other programs. Carlson said on Thursday’s show that “Crossfire” will “assume a new format and possibly a new time.”

Carlson praised the staff and crew of the show and said that he enjoyed his time with the program.

“I literally have not been bored a single day,” Carlson said.

Students who felt the show did not delve deep enough into important issues should be pleased with “Inside Politics,” Freedman said. The weekday show, hosted by Judy Woodruff, airs from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

“You guys get your wish because the commentary said, ‘Tone it down, let’s have some more substantive programming,'” Freedman said.

“Crossfire,” which is broadcast from GW five times a week, has called the Jack Morton Auditorium home since April 2002. At that time, the show aired from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., but in April 2003, it was shortened to a half-hour broadcast, and the show lost its evening slot.

The program averaged 447,000 viewers daily this season – 21 percent less viewers than last year.

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