[Benjamin Reed, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Charles Barkley Heading To CNN

CNN is desperate for a hit. Last fall, New Conservative Post noted that the struggling channel’s new management was looking for ways to fire much of its hyperpartisan and woke staff that has been blamed for its downfall from “the most trusted name in news.” 

The original cable news network, according to The Guardian, “has been shedding viewers, coming in last in ratings of US cable news networks during the recent midterm elections.

At the same time, the cost-cutting new corporate management under the umbrella of Warner Bros Discovery has also indicated it wants to reel in a perceived left-leaning political bias in CNN’s coverage.

Over the past year, incoming management at CNN outlined a course to return to a political middle ground and to the spirit of founder Ted Turner, who sought to “make news the star.” The course would be steered by CNN’s chairman and CEO, Chris Licht, and supported by Warner’s chief executive, David Zaslav, and libertarian cable king and shareholder John Malone.”

While CNN has looked to Bill Maher to bring in some viewers, management recently made headlines with their latest announcement of a show that will bring together two people known to be straight shooters: Gayle King and…former NBA superstar Charles Barkley. 

Variety reported, “Gayle King and Charles Barkley will help break traditional barriers around news programming later this year when they launch “King Charles,” a new weekly primetime program for CNN.

The duo confirmed the move, which has been anticipated for weeks, with an announcement Saturday afternoon on TNT, a cable network that is, like CNN, owned by Warner Bros, Discovery. ‘King Charles’ will be a one-hour, live discussion program and is set to air Wednesdays. CBS News, which counts King as one of the most prominent members of its roster of correspondents, signed off on the deal weeks ago, according to a person familiar with matter. Barkley, who recently renewed his longstanding deal with Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports division, had an easier transition.”

During an interview together on the set of Barkley’s NBA Tip-Off Saturday, the two discussed what they’re going to be doing: 

“I want the show to be nonpolitical,” said Barkley, though he added that the show would touch on politics. “You know (Gayle King) is going to be a straight shooter. I’m going to be a straight shooter,” he added. “I know she’s going to be fair and honest and you know I’m going to do the same thing.”

The show will be a no holds barred look at current topics, said King. “I think that decorum and courtesy and kindness always work,” she said. “But everybody I know has an opinion on something. We just need to figure out a way to have a good conversation without tearing each other down. And I think we can do that.”

Topics covered on the show, said King and Barkley, will range from hard-hitting topics like gun control to lighter fare like food and pop culture.  

“I want people to tune in to see ‘what are Gayle and Charles going to do?”’ said King. “I think it will be fun to watch the dynamic between the two of us.”

The show is expected to feature personalities at the center of the week’s news. “King Charles” will debut this fall and air on Wednesdays. CNN and TNT are both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.

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