Less than 24 hours after canceling former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s prime time talk show, ‘In the Arena’, CNN today announced the latest addition to its lineup – and at the same time shocked industry analysts by signaling that they are ready to make a radical departure from the staid, no-nonsense style that has been their hallmark since founding the 24-hour cable news industry some 31 years ago.
And if they raised eyebrows when they hired Spitzer less than two years after he left office in disgrace as the result of a prostitution scandal, they just might raise the roof with this one.
Beginning this fall, CNN will launch the first-ever adult oriented, interactive late-night political talk show. Loosely modeled on their show ‘Crossfire’, which aired from 1982 to 2005, ‘Tit-for-Tat/Tweet-for-Twat’, starring John Ensign and Anthony Weiner will also feature a large graphic display showing live (subject to a 7 second delay) Facebook and Twitter feeds allowing viewers to participate in the conversation.
The show’s stars – Ensign, the Nevada Republican who recently resigned from the Senate rather than face expulsion over illegal acts committed in an effort to cover up his affair with a staffer, and Weiner, the New York Democrat who recently gave up his House seat amidst a sexless ’sex scandal’ after it was discovered that he had been using social networking sites for nonpolitical social networking – will draw on their experience in the political, social, and networking arenas to, “bring CNN’s viewers a frank, straightforward, adult conversation with the emphasis on adult” according to Newton Toomey, a network executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. “And you may have noticed, I didn’t use the words ‘no-nonsense’ to describe our hosts.”
Former Senator Ensign, the ‘tit-for-tat’ host, will of course represent the conservative viewpoint – at least as far as politics are concerned – while former Congressman Weiner, the ‘tweet-for-twat’ end of the equation, will bring his famous leftward lean to television for the first time as a host.
“Our only regret is that the person who got the shaft here – or perhaps I should say wound up getting squeezed out – was Gov. Spitzer,” Toomey added. “While Eliot would have made a fine host for this show as well, even he was gracious enough to understand that because of the social networking aspect – and because recent events broadened the field of potential hosts – the only move that made sense for the network was to go with Congressman Weiner. He is the true ‘tweet-for-twat’ guy. The governor – who we wish nothing but the best for – by appearances at least, has always been more of a ‘twit-for-twat’ guy.”