Newt Gingrich has been preparing for the debut of "Crossfire," and the new CNN host said in a Friday conference call that he is still adjusting to using a teleprompter.
Gingrich and his co-hosts Stephanie Cutter, Van Jones and S.E. Cupp spent the past week rehearsing for the revived debate show, which premieres Monday at 6:30 p.m. When asked what has surprised him during rehearsal, Gingrich said that the "technical" aspect of being on cable news has required getting used to.
"Getting cued to go to the teleprompter is much more disruptive if your normal behavior is to be the guest," the former Speaker of the House told reporters on Friday. "As the guest, you don’t care that they’re screaming, you know, get out, get out, you know?"
He added, "At least in my case because I learned slower than these other guys, we have been practicing just at basic stuff, which I never experienced when I was the guest."
Sam Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief, noted that the debate show is unscripted and that the teleprompter is used to introduce subjects and cut to commercial breaks.
Gingrich, a former Republican presidential hopeful and ex-Fox News contributor, has of course had plenty of airtime on cable news. Al Sharpton — another public figure turned cable news host — might be able to relate to Gingrich's experience, though. When Sharpton began hosting the 6 p.m. hour on MSNBC, he famously had trouble with his teleprompter — and was later mocked for it on "Saturday Night Live."
Gingrich said that he hoped that the network would give political figures "equal time," but he mostly dismissed the controversy. "I don’t see it as a giant deal and I don’t think Hillary’s survival or failure are going to rest on these two documentaries," he said.
CNN officially announced the return of "Crossfire" and the hosts in June. Feist said Friday that the revived show will bear some differences from its predecessor, which was famously canceled in 2005. The new show, for example, will focus on one subject for the duration of the half hour, and also include a feature called "Ceasefire" where the hosts will try to find areas of agreement.