WEB UPDATE: Future of CNN’s relationship with GW uncertain

Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2:03 p.m.
Updated Thursday May 12, 4:43 p.m.

CNN’s “Crossfire,” which has called GW home for three years, will go off the air this summer, and the show that was planned to replace it will be discontinued as well.

In an undated memo provided to The Hatchet, CNN President Jonathan Klein said the network will discontinue the last hour of “Live From,” as well as the entirety of “Wolf Blitzer Reports” and “Inside Politics” — the program GW hoped would replace “Crossfire.”

In place of those shows, CNN will broadcast a three-hour block of programming from 3 to 6 p.m. to be hosted by Blitzer. The change will take place some time this summer. It is unknown if the three-hour show will broadcast from “Crossfire’s” current home, the Jack Morton Auditorium in the School of Media and Public Affairs.

Edie Emery, a public relations official at CNN, would not confirm a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer that said “Crossfire’s” final show would air June 3. “Crossfire” currently airs from 4:30 to 5 p.m. The Inquirer also reported that “Inside Politics” will continue to air from 3:30-to-5 p.m., after “Crossfire” goes off the air, until the new Blitzer show begins.

In the memo, Klein said the block will showcase the network’s reporting talent but added, “specifics are still in the planning stages.”

“These changes help us provide even more compelling programming that will deliver on our journalistic mission,” Klein wrote.

In January, Michael Freedman, GW’s vice president for communications, said CNN planned on bringing “Inside Politics” to GW to replace the outgoing “Crossfire.” But questions about the future of “Inside Politics” arose in April when Judy Woodruff, the show’s anchor, announced she would leave the show when her contract expires in June.

It is unclear if the new block of programming could call GW home. Blitzer has a relationship with the University, having spoken here several times over the last few years. In 2001, he delivered the keynote address at the grand opening of the SMPA – the building from which “Crossfire” broadcasts. He is friends with University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and attends men’s basketball games.

Freedman did not return phone calls or e-mails about when “Crossfire” would end or if another CNN show would replace it at GW. Tracy Schario, GW’s director of media relations, said she had no comment on the June 3 date and added that she has “no confirmed details” about the show’s ending date or CNN’s future at GW.

If GW fails to land another show, it could mark the loss of an important recruiting tool for the University. The 2005 Kaplan/Newsweek college guide called GW the “hottest school for political junkies,” partly because of its affiliation with “Crossfire” and the opportunities students have to work on the show.

Klein announced the cancellation of “Crossfire” in December. In January, CNN producer Sam Feist told By George! magazine the show would be off the air by February or March. Freedman told The Hatchet in January that the show could last through the end of the semester.

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