The long-rumored Gayle King–Charles Barkley pairing on CNN is officially happening.
The network announced Saturday that the high-profile on-air personalities will co-host a new primetime talk program, King Charles. The show will air Wednesdays on CNN beginning this fall and running into 2024. Timeslot is yet to be announced.
“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,” CNN CEO Chris Licht said in an internal note to staff on Saturday, shown below.
April 22, 2023
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.
King will maintain her CBS News responsibilities while co-hosting the CNN show. The same is true for Barkley at Turner/Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.
King has a long history with the man who now runs CNN. The duo worked together when Licht launched and executive-produced CBS This Morning.
When asked at Adweek Convergent TV summit last month about the CNN show rumors, she didn’t confirm but also didn’t unequivocally deny.
“I’m very close to Chris Licht. I like him very much, but on that question, ‘me no speak English,’” she said. “Let’s just say I have two years left on my contract with CBS, and I have no intention of leaving CBS.”
Barkley, a beloved and outspoken member of the Emmy Award-winning NBA on TNT sports studio show, will play double-duty, working across multiple Warner Bros. Discovery-owned properties.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that CNN was finalizing a contract with King for a primetime program, and The New York Post got Barkley on the record to discuss the possibility of joining the cable news outlet. The digital news outlet Puck reported in February that CNN was in talks with King and Barkley.
King appeared on the NBA on TNT playoff pregame show Saturday to discuss the new program.
“What I think is so great for the both of us is that it is live TV,” said King. “Whatever happens, happens.”
She added, “We’re both very curious people.”
Barkley noted that he wasn’t exactly interested in doing more TV work, however when he was approached with the idea for this show, he thought, “Oh yeah, I’ll work with Gayle—that’s the only way.”
Barkley said he hopes the show will be apolitical. “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,” he said.
But politics and current events will be topics, the two said. “I just think we need to figure out a way to have a good conversation without tearing each other down,” King said.
Barkley said he wanted to keep the issue of gun violence in the forefront, rather than just moving on quickly after deadly shootings. “We need to talk about it, man.” he said. “I’m a pro-gun guy, but it should not be easy to get guns.”
Coming this fall, King Charles with Gayle King and Charles Barkley will air weekly on CNN in primetime running into 2024. Hear Gayle and Charles talk about their new show on @NBAonTNT. pic.twitter.com/ZMqYXdtYBw
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) April 22, 2023