Report: CNN targeting Charles Barkley for news-oriented primetime show

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

CNN reportedly is targeting NBA legend and TNT analyst Charles Barkley for a primetime show, according to Dylan Byers of Puck News.

“[Chris] Licht is now in negotiations to bring Charles Barkley to CNN for a news-oriented primetime show, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell me,” wrote Byers.

For his show, Barkley would interview several different people, including newsmakers, journalists and other guests about the day’s headlines.

“Chris is having conversations with dozens of culturally relevant individuals from the worlds of news, sports, entertainment and comedy,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic told Puck News.

Barkley may seem like an interesting choice for this role, but he’s actually shown an interest in politics for quite some time, even bringing them up on occasion during his appearances on Inside the NBA on TNT.

The 11-time All-Star has become one of the most popular figures in televisions on Inside the NBA, and he’s an extremely entertaining personality alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.

The Hall of Fame forward is known for his amazing basketball career, but he’s done a great job in his post-playing days to carve out a role in the entertainment industry.

Barkley reportedly is interested in retiring around age 60, but he’s already 59 years old, so it may be hard for Licht to convince him to take on another responsibility with a new primetime show.

It seems like a potential deal with CNN wouldn’t force Barkley to abandon his duties with TNT.

“The Barkley deal would allow Sir Charles to continue his role with TNT, just as the offer to [Gayle] King allows her to continue anchoring CBS Mornings,” wrote Byers. “In Barkley, Licht would be sharing talent with another arm of the Warner Bros. Discovery television universe, a factor that may make the overall deal less burdensome on his P&L. Indeed, it’s quite conceivable that David Zaslav encouraged Licht to go looking for in-house talent, and that more WBD talent cross-pollinations like this could also be in the pipeline.”

That’s good news for basketball fans who have grown accustomed to the craziness that is Inside the NBA during each season. It’s hard to find a better group than Barkley, O’Neal, Smith and Johnson in all of sports television.

It seems like Licht and CNN are trying to bring a new look to their programming by adding a name like Barkley.

It could be a move that pays off by getting more people interested in Barkley’s personality to tune in, but it could also backfire.

Barkley was pursued by LIV Golf as well for a role, but he turned it down. It’s hard to see the Hall of Famer leaving Inside the NBA, but it’s possible he could take on this extra role in addition to his basketball duties if it is of interest to him.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.