Crossfire was a debate program that aired on the liberal news network CNN and was canceled twice due to low ratings. Relevant current events were debated in an often passionate manner, and sometimes the debates reached the point of incivility which may have been part of the reason viewers decided to tune out, as the pundits on the program represented the broken political discourse found in the United States. The first iteration ran from 1982 until 2005, and the second iteration only ran from 2013-2014. CNN designed the show to have the premise that two liberals would debate two conservatives, and two guests would appear, one liberal and one conservative, hence the name Crossfire.
The original iteration of the show aired from 1982 until 2005 and throughout its run featured hosts such as Pat Buchanan and Tucker Carlson "on the right" and such personalities as Bill Press "on the left." The original show did last for a number of years, though Buchanan did leave the program to work for the Reagan Administration, and Carlson eventually left to host the short-lived show Tucker on MSNBC.
The liberal "comedian" Jon Stewart appeared on the program under the pretense he was selling his new book America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction he collaborated with his writers for the liberal Daily Show program on Comedy Central. Instead, he used the platform to rib the hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, particularly Carlson, and the uncivil discourse on the program and what Stewart thought was the poisoning by the political system with the rhetoric found on this program. Some analysts claim that Stewart's appearance caused the cancellation of the first iteration of the program. The first iteration was canceled shortly after Stewart's appearance, though CNN denies that it has anything to do with Stewart's appearance, and it had to do with scheduling issues for the network's program, and a desire to focus on more issue and breaking news-oriented programming, such as the Situation Room.
Eight years after the original iteration of the show was canceled, it reappeared in 2013 with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and atheist S.E. Cupp representing the conservative side of the debate and avowed communist Van Jones and Stephanie Cutter represented the liberal side. It aired weekdays at 6:30 PM for half an hour, in contrast to the episodes in 2002 that aired for an hour. In July 2014, this iteration of the program ended and no talks have been made to bring the show back. The show was quietly canceled, and replaced with typical CNN news programming as before due to the divisive nature of the program despite the inclusion of the "Cease Fire" final segment of the program that encouraged debate participants to find common ground, a section that was absent from the first iteration of the program, and was created in response to public perception of the hostile and uncivil nature of this type of programming.