CNN Nearing Deal With Charles Barkley and Gayle King After Drawing 30-Year Low

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This month, CNN recorded its lowest-rated primetime audience in 30 years.

The near-record low may have prompted the network to acquiesce to contract demands from Charles Barkley and Gayle King.

Barkley and King are finalizing a deal to co-host a weekly primetime show on CNN, as Variety first reported. The duo will continue in their current roles at TNT and CBS, respectively.

The plan is to pair them together at 9 pm, with the day of the week uncertain.

CNN CEO Chris Licht has pivoted focus from naming a full-time 9 pm host to using a variety of personalities during the time slot, separated by the day of the week.

Barkley and King are names. They are not randos trying to convince viewers they have cred, as Laura Coates continues to do during her primetime tryouts.

Still, the duo is unlikely to provide more than an initial boost.

If airing Bill Maher on Fridays doesn’t help, neither will Barkley and King.

In January, CNN began to simulcast Maher’s “Overtime” segment during the 11 p.m. hour. While the move spiked ratings at the start, the segment has shed 47 percent of viewers since January.

The segment averages 368,000 total viewers and 74,000 in the demo, airing from 11:30-11:44 p.m.

CNN is a man without an island. Its problems extend beyond the casting. Left, right, or in the middle — no one is rushing to CNN for their dose of the “news.“

Progressives reject the brand’s semi-pivot away from woke programming. Ardent liberals have MSNBC to affirm their talking points. They don’t need another.

Conservative viewers do not trust CNN. And the conservative media echo system is ever-expanding.

Moderate viewers merely seeking the truth deduced there are better sources than a channel that employs Don Lemon, Jim Acosta, and the dorky ladies in the afternoon.

Moreover, whatever credibility CNN planned to regain under new leadership plummeted last weekend when the network warned white people of their racism by virtue of “digital blackface.

Do Don Lemon’s co-hosts use digital blackface? A lot of white people do, per CNN.

Ultimately, Barkley and King are not long-term solutions. Perhaps only Donald Trump is.

Trump regaining the White House would give CNN the purpose it lost when he departed office. CNN needs a Boogeyman, the central villain over whom CNN stokes fear.

The channel tried to replace Trump with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson, and Ron DeSantis. It wasn’t the same.

Trump left CNN desperate.

And desperation it is when a so-called news network turns to a former basketball star and a friend of Oprah’s to steer the ship.

A 30-year low desperation, that is.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.

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