The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Hit the showers, Carlson!

Here's an AP story that seems to confirm a rumor that's been floating around the blogosphere today. CNN has given Tucker Carlson the boot. If you don't know him, you should. At least, you should know him as the Crossfire co-host given a massive beatdown at the hands of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart. Sure, it's too early to start heralding a new age in hackery-free cable news. But it's a step in the right direction. I'll include the complete article below. In the meantime, Tucker Carlson is dead! Long live Tuc... errr, scratch that.

CNN Lets 'Crossfire' Host Carlson Go

2 hours, 50 minutes ago Television - AP

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK - CNN said goodbye to pundit Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, and with him likely the "Crossfire" program that has been the granddaddy of high-volume political debate shows on cable television.

CNN will probably fold "Crossfire" into its other programming, perhaps as an occasional segment on the daytime show "Inside Politics," said Jonathan Klein, who was appointed in late November as chief executive of CNN's U.S. network.

Klein on Wednesday told Carlson, one of the four "Crossfire" hosts, that CNN would not be offering him a new contract. Carlson has been talking with MSNBC about a prime-time opening replacing Deborah Norville.

"I would host any kind of show for (MSNBC chief executive) Rick Kaplan," said Carlson, whose Friday night PBS show "Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered" resumes this week.

He said he enjoyed every minute working for CNN, but that he had told executives last April that he wanted to do something different from "Crossfire."

The bow-tied[sic] wearing conservative pundit got into a public tussle last fall with comic Jon Stewart, who has been critical of cable political programs that devolve into shoutfests.

"I guess I come down more firmly in the Jon Stewart camp," Klein told The Associated Press.

He said all of the cable networks, including CNN, have overdosed on programming devoted to arguing over issues. Klein said he wants more substantive programming that is still compelling.

"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," he said. "I don't know why we don't treat the audience with the same respect."

"Crossfire" began in 1982 and was once a mainstay of CNN's prime time. Pat Buchanan (news - web sites) from the right and Michael Kinsley from the left were two of its most prominent hosts.

But as Fox News Channel perfected the format with popular hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, "Crossfire" lost favor among CNN executives and was moved to the afternoons in 2002. It averages 447,000 viewers each weekday, down 21 percent from the previous season, according to Nielsen Media Research. Carlson rotates as host with conservative columnist Bob Novak. Paul Begala and James Carville are the left-leaning ringleaders.

Klein said he hoped Novak, Begala and Carville would continue with meaningful commentator roles at CNN.

Carlson had one failed bid at prime time on CNN with "The Spin Room," which was canceled after less than six months in 2001.

He subbed last week for newscaster Aaron Brown as Klein wanted to see him in a different role before making a decision about his future. Klein said his views on wanting to change the tone of political coverage were separate from the decision to keep Carlson.

"His career aspirations and our programming needs just don't synch up," Klein said. "He wants to host his own nighttime show and we don't see that in the cards here. Out of respect for him and his talent, we thought it would be best to let him explore opportunities elsewhere."

An MSNBC spokesman had no comment on CNN's decision.

"We think Tucker is a great journalist and we're exploring our options for a
new 9 p.m. show," said MSNBC's Jeremy Gaines.
Man, that's cold. The language takes me back to being fired from my job at a pizza place at age 16. Is it just me, or does it not seem unusually frosty? Then again, it sounds an awful lot like Tuck 'n Stuff thought he could play by Fox rules in another neighborhood. But they've already got more ratfinks than you can shake a stick at with Hannity, O'Reilly, and the omnipresent Coulter. No help there. Hehhehheh...