Legendary basketball player turned broadcaster Charles Barkley is reportedly in talks with CNN for a weeknight show.
Barkley has more than 20 years of television experience and is an NBA analyst on the long-running “Inside the NBA” sports show on TNT. But he recently revealed that he is only considering the CNN program because of the possibility of working with news broadcaster Gayle King.
“They are trying to pair Gayle King and me,” Barkley told the New York Post. “We don’t have anything set in stone. I’m only considering it because of my respect for Gayle.”
Any potential Barkley-King show would not air every weekday night, likely due to their current respective schedules.
Even if Barkley had more availability, he does not appear open to doing a nightly show: “That is never going to happen,” Barkley said.
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According to Puck, a digital media platform, CNN has had an interest in King for some time. She currently co-hosts the “CBS Mornings” program.
Barkley, who turned 60 earlier this week, recently signed a 10-year contract with TNT’s parent company, Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD), after he flirted with LIV Golf to join their broadcasting team. He also perviously mentioned that he would look to retire once he turns 60.
Barkley’s broadcast partners Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith have also signed extensions with the network. O’Neal and Smith have a knack for playing off of Barkley’s personality while Johnson runs point. The chemistry between the four has helped the show maintain its popularity over the years.
WBD will have to renegotiate their agreement with the NBA after the 2024-2025 season as the broadcasting rights contract is set to expire at that time. WBD also owns CNN.
“I just want to help the company because obviously it is a s–t show right now,” Barkley said. “Anything I can do to help.”
Barkley has often opined on subjects outside the sport world over the years.
Meanwhile, King has a relationship with CNN CEO Chris Licht from their time working together at CBS more than a decade ago. Barkley and King became friends after he appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
He spoke highly of King when asked about what it would be like to pair up with her on a show: “It would be an honor and a privilege to work with Gayle,” Barkley said.
It remains unclear when a potential show would begin airing, if a deal were to go through. Barkley will soon begin his broadcasting duties for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament before starting his NBA playoffs coverage.