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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Braden’

‘Crossfire’ Creator On CNN’s New 8 p.m. Show: ‘I Can’t Think of a Worse Idea’

cnn_crossfire_1992a062510.jpg Lots of people have compared CNN’s new 8 p.m. program featuring Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker to the canceled debate show “Crossfire.” Now you can add the man who created “Crossfire” to that list. Reese Schonfeld, CNN’s first president and the man who created the original “program in 1982, says of the new show “to be blunt, I can’t think of a worse idea.”

Schonfeld, writing in a blog for the Huffington Post, recalls the original concept behind the program, which at the time featured Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden. The idea was, the day’s top newsmaker would appear on the show, and Buchanan and Braden would pepper them with questions from the right and the left, “the guest would be caught in the crossfire,” Schonfeld recalls.

CNN was created as a news network, and the 10pm hour, where the Crossfire show had been originally scheduled, was supposed to make news. By interviewing the protagonist of the day’s leading story, we hoped we could get him to say something that would advance the story by at least one news cycle, and have everybody quoting us in the next day’s newspaper. The guest was supposed to deliver fresh information, not controversy. Unfortunately, for twenty years, Crossfire shed more heat than light, and I suspect Spitzer-Parker will do the same.

Schonfeld also recalls that CNN founder Ted Turner hated the original concept, but had to move it to a prime spot at 7:30 pm.. because it became such a big hit.

He also weighs in on Spitzer and Parker:

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Former CNN Host Tom Braden, Dies

Braden_4.4.jpgTom Braden, the creator and co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” died yesterday at age 92.

His daughter Susan Braden said her father died of natural causes at his home in Denver

Braden co-hosted the Buchanan-Braden Program, a three-hour daily radio show in Washington, D.C. with current MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan. In 1982 he brought the concept to CNN and “Crossfire” was born. Braden was the host “from the left” until 1989.

“He was a giant of a man and one of the most decent human beings you’d ever want to meet,” said CNN’s political director Sam Feist.

Braden fought in World War II, worked for the CIA and ran for lieutenant governor of California in 1966.

In 1975, he wrote the best-selling book, “Eight is Enough,” about his eight children. It was developed into the popular television show which ran from 1977-1981.