CNN Creates New Primetime Show With Charles Barkley And Gayle King

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/23/2023
Chris Licht has recruited Gayle King, a co-anchor of CBS Mornings, and Charles Barkley, an analyst for NBA on TNT, to present a weekly primetime show to be dubbed King Charles. This is one of the most important programming decisions Chris Licht has made since becoming CNN's CEO over a year ago.

As part of the channel's NBA playoff pregame programming, TNT announced the show. King remarked on the show, "What I think is so great for the both of us is that it is live TV." It is true that "whatever happens, happens."

King Charles will air on CNN beginning in the latter part of this year and continuing into 2024. King and Barkley will both maintain their jobs at Turner Sports, and King will continue to work for CBS in the mornings.

Before King's name was offered, according to Barkley, he was not excited about the prospect of presenting a program for CNN. King echoed this sentiment, stating that she "wasn't looking for another job."

When questioned about the rumors of a King-Barkley performance on Thursday at a luncheon discussion at the Paley Center in New York, Licht said, "Wouldn't that be a fantastic program to watch? Would you not watch the program? No matter whose network aired it, I would watch.

For CNN, which has been going through a programming reset since Licht came nearly a year ago, the show will be a significant change. He has so far debuted a brand-new morning program and given the dayside news hours a more lively structure.

CNN has experimented with a variety of formats during primetime, including panel discussions and in-depth interviews.

King Charles, on the other hand, will be a totally different kind of spectacle. Licht said during the Paley Center event that he wanted to "take big swings" and "try different things."

"One of the things I've been quite clear about is that we should strive to open up the possibilities for primetime programming. That's why we shouldn't compete for news junkies," Licht added. "Let's fight for viewers who have free time and are watching television... Should I watch ESPN, people ask me. Do I need to watch Netflix? Should I tune into HGTV? Hey, CNN always offers interesting content. And I believe that the greatest estimate or best theory of what may succeed is if we fight for those viewers without alienating the core cable news addict.

Read Licht’s full memo to staff below.

To my CNN Colleagues,

I am thrilled to share that CNN will be home to a new show featuring the extraordinary duo of Gayle King and Charles Barkley, aptly titled King Charles, which will air weekly in primetime beginning this fall and running into 2024. This show will be an exciting new way we are delivering culturally relevant programming and unique perspectives to our audience, from two incredibly dynamic personalities. We are excited that they are both able to join us in addition to their current respective roles with Gayle continuing to anchor CBS Mornings. King Charles exemplifies the one-team, one-company mentality with Charles playing double duty at CNN and in his role at WBD Sports.

There will be more to come on this in the months ahead, but in the meantime, please join me in welcoming Gayle and Charles to CNN.

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