You might liken it to “Crossfire” for the era of President Donald Trump.
Talent agency UTA has casually pitched MSNBC and CNN the idea of a new program featuring Trump confidant Anthony Scaramucci and anti-Trump attorney Michael Avenatti, according to a person familiar with the situation. No deal has been made, this person said, and there is no guarantee the concept will come to fruition. A show could not launch until after Avenatti dispenses with current client obligations, this person cautioned, including the case he has been pursuing on behalf of adult actress Stormy Daniels.
MSNBC declined to comment. UTA declined to comment. A CNN spokesperson could not be reached for immediate comment. The nascent effort to package the two figures was reported previously by The New York Times.
The idea sounds like an update of “Crossfire,” the venerable CNN program that pit one liberal pundit (“on the left”) against a conservative commentator (“on the right”), and relied on everyone from Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak to Michael Kinsley, Tucker Carlson and James Carville. The program ran initially on CNN between 1982 and 2005, and enjoyed a short, second run in 2013 and 2014 when its panelists included Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter, and Van Jones.
Jay Sures, the co-president of UTA, is said to have been the executive sussing out interest in the potential project. The trio was spotted together at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner (above, pictured).
Avenatti and Scaramucci would seem to have little in common, but there is one thing they do share: The gift of gab. Scaramucci, who served as White House Communications Director for less than a month, has continued to pop up on talk shows like “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO or ABC’s “The View.” Avenatti has become a regular presence on various cable-news networks, and a frequent guest on shows like MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” where he weighs in on his latest efforts to prevail on behalf of Daniels, his client. Avenatti has been behind the release of some incriminating documents relating to Michael Cohen, a longtime personal attorney for Donald Trump.
CNN and MSNBC would have to figure out a way to make the program a regular presence on their primetime schedules – if that’s the place they are indeed considering. CNN is about to introduce a new show anchored by Chris Cuomo to its primetime lineup, which otherwise relies on Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. MSNBC is enjoying a ratings surge in primetime with Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell.