April 4, 2009

‘Crossfire’ creator Braden dead at age 92

Tom Braden, who created the CNN debate series Crossfire, has died in Denver of natural causes at the age of 92, his daughter, Susan, says.

CNN noted Braden, who died Friday at his home, brought Crossfire to the cable network in 1982 and served as one of the series' hosts until 1989.

Many people believe that Tom created the genre of political talk shows and debate programs that has now been copied and copied and copied, CNN political director Sam Feist said of Braden. He was a giant of a man and one of the most decent human beings you'd ever want to meet. CNN was a better place because Tom Braden worked here.

Pat Buchanan, who was Braden's conservative co-host on Crossfire, remembered the former CIA operative, author, newspaper publisher and politician as a fierce political rival.

He was a cantankerous character, Buchanan said. He really didn't like conservatives, especially the new breed. It made for great chemistry and opposition.

Braden wrote the memoir Eight is Enough about his family of eight children, which ABC turned into a successful situation comedy by the same name. He also once ran for lieutenant governor of California.

The Los Angeles Times said in addition to his daughter, Susan, Braden is survived by two sons, three other daughters and 12 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Joan and another son.