CNN Taps Eliot Spitzer, Kathleen Parker for Debate Show

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Parker and Spitzer.
Parker and Spitzer. Photo: Courtesy of CNN

It's really happening: CNN is launching a debate show to replace Campbell Brown in their eight o'clock prime-time hour. As anticipated, the show will be co-hosted by Eliot Spitzer. His partner will be self-described "rational"-conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2010. This is a fitting match: Coverage of Spitzer's spectacular downfall as governor of New York in 2008 earned the New York Times its own Pulitzer, so in a way, they're both winners!


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 the day.

“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 boring.”

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.”