Charles Barkley and Gayle King to host new primetime CNN TV show, NBA legend promises show will be 'non-political,' 'fair and honest'
"King Charles" will be a one-hour live CNN TV show that will air on primetime on Wednesdays starting this fall and running into 2024.
Barkley and King said they weren't looking for another TV job, but the couple saw the opportunity to work together as worthwhile. King appears on "CBS Mornings" and Barkley is with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.
King said on Saturday, "What I think is so great for the both of us is that it’s live TV. To me, live TV is like working without a net. So whatever happens, happens. I like that."
Gayle noted that she and Barkley are "curious people."
When Barkley is asked what the show will look like, the sports broadcaster answered, "I want it to be non-political."
King abruptly interrupted Barkley, "But we'll talk about politics."
Barkley fired back, "We will, but we don't want to say we're a liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat. That's one of the things that's already ruined television in general."
Barkley said he and his new co-host are both "straight shooters."
The basketball legend said, "All I want is people, even if I disagree with them, to be honest with me. I don't want them saying things to get clickbait. That's what drives me crazy about people in our profession right now."
Barkley said, "I know she's going to be fair and honest, you know I'm going to do the same thing."
King added, "Everyone I know has an opinion about something. I just think we have to figure out a way to have a good conversation without tearing each other down, I think we can do that."
When asked about what would be the topic of his show if it started today, Barkley said he would talk about mass shootings in the United States.
"You guys know I'm a pro-gun guy, but it should not be easy to get guns," Barkley said. "We got to start doing better."
King told a story of friends who are allegedly considering moving out of American because they're scared of their children being victims of gun violence in schools.
Barkley's current coworker, Shaquille O'Neal, jokingly warned King that Barkley is "very moody" and to buy him Krispy Kreme donuts to butter him up.
CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a memo, "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."
Licht has struggled to find a primetime show to excel in the ratings after Chris Cuomo was fired by the network in December 2021.
CNN's ratings have tanked in recent years. Primetime ratings for CNN collapsed 61% in March — the steepest drop in viewership among the big three cable TV news networks, according to Nielsen.
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