In the Charlie Sheen post, I was saying that instead of shutting down, his show should get rid of him and do an old-fashioned retool. It won’t, but another show will: CNN’s Parker/Spitzer is getting rid of Kathleen Parker and revamping as a Spitzer vehicle called “In the Arena.”
The show needs a revamp, as it was incredibly boring and Spitzer was the less boring of the two hosts; also, the format was just awful — it seemed to want to be a throwback to “civility” (a word that is quite rightly becoming a punchline) in an era of increased pugnaciousness and political polarization. It had no point of view, and an opinion show without a point of view is pointless. That’s why Fox News continues to thrive while CNN, with no identity, and MSNBC, with almost no identity, struggle.
CNN’s inability to take a point of view on anything means it can’t survive in today’s TV news ecosystem; there are such deep divisions on issues that when you try to find a nonexistent middle ground, you wind up looking irrelevant. Fox News, obviously, does not have this problem. Even their one stealth liberal journalist, the strangely out-of-place Shep Smith, is willing to be blunt in a way that most “liberal” cable personalities (except Rachel Maddow, whom he’s been accused by eagle-eyed Fox fans of echoing in the clip below) almost never are.