It's official: Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York - disgraced then chased from office after consorting with a prostitute - has a new job as a CNN host on a "Crossfire"-type show that will bow this fall.
He'll be paired up with Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist and frequent guest on CNN's air.
Surprise? Nah. Spitzer's been reported - not even "rumored"! - for the gig for months, and it was just a question of who his co would be. The New York Post first reported last week that Parker would be the one.
What's amazing - except perhaps in our gnat-attention-span media age - is that Spitzer did let down millions of New York voters and the state itself in a scandal that he of course had to know would lead no place but the exit ramp once it was revealed. And it was - in spectacular fashion. Spitzer then underwent the well-trod ten-step program of public rehabilitation - the "Good Wife" apology; the "I've let you down" speech; the "I'm going to bow out of public life" declaration that no one believed; and finally, the bit by bit by bit by bit reentrance back into public life.
Before you knew it, he was the go-to guy by some TV media outlets seeking insights into the Wall Street debacle. He even got a column in Slate, which conferred intellectual cred, or something.
He had then become what everyone in media seems to aspire to: A talking head. (And by the way, let's be real here, too. Sex scandals never did any harm to other figures of note - Dick Morris and a certain ex-president with the initials "B" and "C" come to mind. )
But the past is past here; how will Spitzer do as a co-host on "Crossfire" - no name yet, but I think it should be named "Crossfire."
Honestly, I have my doubts. He's certainly freakily bright - knows the issues, knows how to talk on TV, knows how to do verbal battle with adversaries, knows how to think faster than the average bear with the white hot lights of TV on his formidable brow...but...
...TV is also a visual medium, and with that aforementioned brow, those deep set eyes, and that rather intimidating glare, will viewers turn away in horror?
I dunno. We'll find out. (If he can somehow incorporate humor into his demeanor, or soften it. But that may be impossible...)
Parker? I like you know very little about her. But check out this interview with Howard Kurtz a few years ago. She wrote that Sarah Palin should leave the race and got some attention for it. First, the press release...
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kathleen Parker and former New York
governor Eliot Spitzer will co-host a spirited, nightly roundtable
discussion program on CNN/U.S., it was announced today by Jon Klein,
president of CNN/U.S. The new program, set to debut this fall, will air
weeknights at 8pm Eastern time.
Spitzer, a legendary prosecutor and progressive governor, and Parker, an
iconoclastic conservative commentator, will host a dynamic exchange of
opinions and analyses – their own, and those of their guests and regular
contributors – on the most important, compelling and amusing stories of
“Other cable news channels force-feed viewers one narrow, predictable
point of view; in contrast, CNN will be offering a lively roundup of all
the best ideas – presented by two of the most intelligent and outspoken
figures in the country,” said Klein. “Eliot and Kathleen are beholden to
no vested interest – in fact, quite the opposite: they are renowned for
taking on the most powerful targets and most important causes.”
Parker is one of the nation’s most prolific and popular opinion
columnists, appearing twice weekly in more than 400 newspapers. A self-
described “rational” conservative, she is known to take a common sense
approach to life and writes with humor and wit. In May she was awarded
the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her political opinion columns,
which she launched in 1987 while a staff writer for the Orlando Sentinel.
It was nationally syndicated in 1995 and she joined the Washington Post
Writers Group in 2006. She has written for magazines including the Weekly
Standard, Time, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan and Fortune Small Business,
and is a contributor to The Daily Beast. She also serves on USA Today’s
board of contributors and writes occasionally for the paper’s op-ed page.
In 1993 she won the H.L. Mencken writing award and in 2004 and 2005 she
was named one of the country’s Top Five Columnists by The Week.
“As a veteran print journalist, I am appropriately respectful of the
challenges posed by the medium,” said Parker. “But I'm thrilled by the
opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to me —and that aren't heard
often enough on television—in a conversation with one of the nation's most
brilliant, fearless and original thinkers. With Eliot Spitzer as my co-
host, Wall Street and Main Street will finally meet. It can't possibly be
Spitzer, a renowned prosecutor and former Governor of the State of New
York, is frequently referred to as the “Sheriff of Wall Street,” having
prosecuted abuses among major Wall Street firms as well as numerous other
industries, both as a young lawyer and as New York State Attorney General.
As Attorney General from 1998 to 2006, Spitzer led several high-profile
cases battling corruption throughout the financial services sector and led
groundbreaking cases in the areas of environmental protection and civil
rights enforcement. As Governor, Spitzer restructured New York’s system of
education finance, began the process of fundamental health care reform and
focused economic development on New York’s upstate economy.
Spitzer was born and raised in the Bronx and is a graduate of Princeton
University and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard
Law Review. Following law school, Spitzer clerked for Federal District
Judge Robert W. Sweet; was an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan
District Attorney’s office, where he prosecuted organized crime and
political corruption cases; and worked at several prominent private law
firms. Spitzer is currently a contributor to Slate.com.
“Kathleen is an extraordinary intellect whose sharp observations and wit
are certain to resonate with viewers,” said Spitzer. “I look forward to
working alongside her in a discussion that will inform, challenge, and
entertain. I am grateful to CNN for the opportunity to co-host a show
that will advance the discussion of the defining issues of our time.”