Spitzer-take; In the Arena?

To the surprise of no one, Kathleen Parker is departing CNN’s Parker/Spitzer;

Kathleen Parker, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who co-hosted CNN’s 8 p.m. show, is leaving just five months after the show debuted, the company announced Friday.

“I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings,” Parker said in a statement. She said she enjoyed her time on the show “Parker Spitzer” with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, but she had missed focusing full-time on her column in the months she had been working on the show.

Certainly a weekly or twice-weekly column can feel like a big commitment along with a nightly broadcast, but I wonder if Parker was ever really comfortable in the venue. The few times I checked in, she never seemed cozy.

More surprising to me than Parker’s leave-taking, however, is the name of the reformatted program. Reports are it will be an ensemble offering called “In the Arena”.

How interesting! I recently had a wonderful twitter exchange with a young man about this episode of a current-events discussion “ensemble” program which is produced by the Diocese of Brooklyn, and happens to be called . . . In the Arena!

For the past three years, In the Arena has been moderated by the Emmy-winning broadcaster Jane Hanson and Msgr. Kieran Harrington, the Diocesan Vicar of Communication, and I believe it was Harrington who came up with the title, based on a quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Commonweal Magazine’s Grant Gallicho and I have been regular contributors to “In the Arena” since its inception. This season the show has covered, among other issues, same-sex marriage, the crisis in Egypt, mental depression and the role of the church in politics.

In fact, next Sunday’s show is a pretty high-spirited one looking at faith in the age of apps and alternative media, which I recommend you take a peek at.

No, I don’t want to talk about the red shawl. Got on a train and realized I was missing a jacket, and then got windblown. I can’t wait for winter to end.

Anyway, I do think this is pretty funny. You’ll have to watch Spitzer’s “Arena” and then ours, and tell us which you like better!

Allahpundit is wondering about Parker’s leave-taking

Sheen/Spitzer; Admit it, you’d watch

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