Charles Barkley doesn’t always stick to sports on TNT’s Inside the NBA. Now, he’s admitted he’s seriously considering an offer to host a show on CNN.
Last week, Puck News reported CNN CEO Chris Licht was targeting Barkley for a primetime show on the cable news network. The NBA analyst has now confirmed the interest to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. According to Barkley, CNN is interested in partnering him with Gayle King. But the Basketball Hall of Famer says it won’t be for a daily show.
“They are trying to pair Gayle King and me,” Barkley told The Post. “We don’t have anything set in stone. I’m only considering it because of my respect for Gayle.”
Puck reported CNN was interested in adding Barkley and King to their lineup, but did not state that it was for a tandem project. Barkley recently signed a long-term contract with Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which owns TNT and CNN. King is still under contract at CBS, where she hosts a daily morning show. It’s hard to imagine King would give up her role on CBS Mornings for a part-time show with CNN, which means her current employer might need to agree to whatever project the cable news network envisions.
“I just want to help the company because obviously it is a sh*t show right now,” Barkley explained. “Anything I can do to help.”
Barkley previously stated he agreed to a long-term deal with WBD to provide the company with stability on Inside the NBA as they negotiate their next rights agreement with the league. The existing rights agreement between WBD and the NBA is set to expire in 2025.
Now, Barkley is willing to help WBD again, this time with CNN which has hemorrhaged viewers in recent years. Licht, who arrived as CEO of CNN last May, has sought to revive the network by acquiring a large pool of talent, while also attempting to change its narrative on being a network known just for bashing former president Donald Trump.
Barkley has a busy schedule in the coming months, with the NCAA Tournament followed by the NBA Playoffs. So it’s fair to assume a potential show on CNN would not occur until the fall.
CNN also would need King, who already hosts CBS Mornings daily, to commit. According to The Post, Barkley’s friendship with King developed years ago after an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
“It would be an honor and a privilege to work with Gayle,” Barkley said.