Gayle King, Charles Barkley will host the weekly CNN show ‘King Charles’

Gayle King, Charles Barkley will host the weekly CNN show 'King Charles'

Gayle King and Charles Barkley will help break down 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 expected for weeks, with an announcement Saturday afternoon on TNT, the cable network that, like CNN, is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. “King Charles” will be a one-hour live talk show and will air on Wednesdays. CBS News, which counts King as one of the most prominent members of its roster of correspondents, signed the deal weeks ago, according to a person familiar with the matter. Barkley, who recently renewed his longstanding deal with Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports division, has had a smooth transition.

King vowed to host a show that provides “good conversation without tearing other people down.” Barclay said the program will not try to imitate the “clickbait” that journalistic outlets are forced to publish to keep traffic numbers to please advertisers. “We don’t want to say, ‘We’re liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat’ — that’s one of the things that has already ruined television in general,” he said.

According to a memo from CNN CEO Chris Licht, the show “will debut in primetime beginning this fall and run through 2024.” “This show will be an exciting new way we’re delivering culturally relevant programming and unique perspectives to our audience from two incredibly dynamic personalities,” he added.

The move illustrates how major media companies are letting go of something they once demanded: talent exclusivity. King, who will continue to work for CBS News, is the latest news personality to diversify his role at a time when the traditional media is fragmenting, and the niche correspondent has a shrinking audience.

Other news outlets have also started allowing their reporters to tackle multiple jobs. At MSNBC, for example, early morning anchor Jonathan Lemire also serves as White House bureau chief for Politico, and weekend host Jonathan Capehart continues to work for The Washington Post. CNN has enjoyed the fruits of a similar relationship with CBS News that includes Anderson Cooper. Cooper is a correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” and the stories he provides for the long-running newsmagazine often appear on its CNN primetime program. In the past, CBS News and CNN have allowed Biana Golodriga to serve as a morning co-anchor on the broadcast network while contributing to the cable outlet. ABC News famously gives “Good Morning America” ​​co-anchor Michael Strahan a lot of leeway to pursue his football-analyst role at Fox Sports.

At the heart of this growing laissez-faire trend? TV executives are beginning to realize that they can win new eyes to their programs if they let anchors, reporters and sportscasters ply their trade elsewhere. King’s role on CNN may bring some of the network’s viewers to his home base at “CBS Mornings.” There are still rules though. It seems unlikely that CBS News would allow King to take on a role at ABC News or NBC News, or that NBCUniversal would allow an MSNBC anchor to contribute his talents to CNN.

The announcement of the show comes just weeks before the country’s major media companies prepare to pitch up Madison Avenue in TV’s annual “upfront” market, while US networks try to sell much of their advertising inventory ahead of starting a new cycle of programs. CNN also recently unveiled a new Sunday program, “The Whole Truth,” which offers one-hour single-topic documentaries or deep dives.

CNN could use some new opportunities. The network has seen its ratings drop significantly since the 2020 election, and Litch is testing new ideas on CNN’s schedule, from regular town halls in primetime to Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Caitlan Collins, and an aim to add new energy and presentational flair to regular newscasts. New is the dynamic day format. As the morning team grapples with personality challenges, the executive faces some headwinds. In recent days, CNN has shown a willingness to continue trying new things, such as running Collins in primetime and moving Chris Wallace’s interview show from Sunday evenings to Friday nights.

Taking on the CNN duties would not mark the first time King has taken on multiple high-profile roles. For a time she helped run Oprah Winfrey’s magazine joint venture with Hearst. She often performed those duties in the afternoon after wrapping up her weekday responsibilities on the CBS morning program.

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