Charles Barkley is set to launch a new show for CNN in the fall. And turbulence inside the cable news network won’t seem to change that.
Earlier this year, Barkley signed on to co-host a weekly prime-time show on CNN with Gayle King beginning in the fall. CNN and Barkley’s primary TV home, TNT, are both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The pairing was contrived by CNN’s CEO at the time, Chris Licht. Licht also recruited King to CBS to co-host that network’s daily morning show in 2012, a position she still holds.
Last week, however, Licht was unceremoniously let go by CNN amid growing distrust in the newsroom after a series of controversial programming decisions failed to slow their sinking ratings. As CNN searches for their next CEO, Barkley seems to believe his show with King is still a go, even though the project was Licht’s vision.
Saturday night, Barkley joined the NHL on TNT to preview Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. And during the appearance, Wayne Gretzky attempted to convince Barkley to trade his upcoming CNN show for more hockey coverage.
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 10, 2023
“You don’t need to go take that news job,” Gretzky said in the above clip. “You can come on our show, you know more about hockey than we do!”
“Apparently with this new talk show I’m jumping on the Titanic,” Barkley said of his looming CNN show with a chuckle. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘abort, abort, abort!’ No, you know what? I’m, looking forward to it. Gayle is awesome.”
Barkley is great at television, which is why he’s on TNT talking hockey. It’s also why CNN wants him talking news and politics.
But Barkley is one of the worst vacationers in the world. Since boasting about being on summer vacation after the Eastern Conference Finals concluded, Barkley has covered the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, he went on the New Heights podcast, he’s scheduled to work The Match, and will certainly have some prep work or trial runs before launching his CNN show.
Barkley has said he wants to help the “struggling” CNN. But salvaging a sinking ship by hosting a show once a week seems like a tough ask.