As proof that a good scandal should never stand in the way of a good career opportunity, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer Wednesday was named co-host of a new CNN show that will revive in spirit the network's old "Crossfire" format.
Spitzer - who left office in March 2008 after revelations that he had patronized a high-priced prostitution ring - will be paired with Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Together, both will undertake one of the tougher jobs in TV - reviving the network's moribund 8 p.m. time slot by dragging the network back into opinion/talk, an area that it had avoided. While CNN Wednesday labeled Parker an "iconoclastic" conservative, and Spitzer a "progressive" former governor, both eschewed any specific political leanings in an interview.
Spitzer said that "labels are not easily imposed," while Parker noted that "we are not going to be part of any artificial template," and insisted that the new, still-unnamed program, which will bow in early fall, "won't be anything like 'Crossfire.' " That long-running program, which pit left-wing points of view against right, was canceled in 2005.
Asked about the scandal that forced him from office, and whether it would be addressed on the new program, Spitzer said, "I'll let others confront that, but at some level I feel I have addressed it [and] now we're moving forward. I'm thrilled to be joining CNN."
CNN president Jon Klein said "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."