CNN Reportedly Considering Odd Couple Gayle King and Charles Barkley to Turn Around Prime-Time Ratings, Social Media Says the Marriage Won’t Work

Gayle King is reportedly in the home stretch of finalizing a deal to join CNN. If recent reports of the prospective offer come to pass, this means King could possibly take on a dual role hosting for the network and CBS, where she has been since 2011, in the near future.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the veteran journalist is in talks to host a weekly primetime news show. Former NBA player Charles Barkley confirmed in an interview with The New York Post that he, too, has been in talks with CNN about joining King.

“They are trying to pair Gayle King and me. We don’t have anything set in stone. I’m only considering it because of my respect for Gayle,” he told the publication. 

Gayle King. (Photo: Gayleking/Instagram)

Questions about her rumored departure from CBS came up at the 2023 Adweek Convergent TV Summit in New York a week prior to news of an almost finalized deal making headlines. King admitted, “I’m very close to [CNN head] Chris Licht. I like him very much, but on that question, ‘Me no speak English,'” said King as quoted in the March 22 story.

“Let’s just say I have two years left on my contract with CBS, and I have no intention of leaving CBS,” she added. 

The news juggernaut took a hit in 2021 when it fired Chris Cuomo, who helmed the coveted 9 p.m. slot with “Cuomo Primetime” that December. His show brought in a reported 2 million viewers. But viewership has since dwindled into the low thousands, according to Forbes.

CNN now hopes that an uptick in ratings can be achieved with the help of the “CBS Mornings” co-host. However, some fans are doubtful King’s early-morning skills will translate into rating success.

“Gayle king?! Oprah’s bestie?! I stopped watching CBS bc of GK.and this seals CNN…corporate media is a monopoly and needs to be divested from their parent holding companies!” tweeted one person with no plans of tuning in.

“Gayle telling Oprah she ain’t gonna change their ratings but about to get the BAG,” tweeted another person, along with a gif of a scene from the movie “Scarface.”

“This would be appointment tv for sure.”

“Not interested in this paring, show…at all.”

“I don’t know. Possible, chemistry issues? Just my take…..”

It’s unclear if King will be able to hold both seats on separate platforms, but this is the second time she had been approached by CNN. However, in January 2022, she signed a deal to stay on as co-anchor of “CBS This Morning.” While maintaining her job, she simultaneously serves as Editor at Large for Oprah Daily and has a radio show on SiriusXM.

King and Oprah Winfrey have been friends for over three decades. Hence the reason some fans may think the mogul already had insight into King’s power play.

The two women met in 1976 at the beginning of their careers in Baltimore. King told Oprah Daily that her TV career kicked off after a chance encounter with a news station manager. She had been working at a nearby video store at the time.

King recalled, “He said, ‘You have such a nice voice and such a nice, pleasant way about you. Would you be interested in an entry-level position?’” Her only concern was having to work a weekend shift. She lucked out and managed to keep Saturday and Sunday as her off days, but was required to work the night shift.

King is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Unlike Winfrey, who always had a dogmatic passion for news, King thought she would become a licensed psychologist and listen to people’s stories and problems for a living.

“I walked into that newsroom and I was hooked,” recalled the site’s editor-at-large. “I was hooked on TV news. And it’s interesting what you can do on your résumé with creative writing that’s not out and out lying,” King said on how she leveraged her skills as a production assistant to a news writing job and eventual on-air reporting.

Winfrey, however, always had her sights set on news and attended Tennessee State University on a full scholarship, where she studied communications. She ultimately dropped out in 1975 to pursue a career in broadcast news but obtained her degree 10 years later after the launch of her über-successful talk show.

Last month, the “Gayle King in the House” host was presented with the 39th Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. Other recipients include Al Roker, Lester Holt, and CNN founder Ted Turner.

“I do not know of anybody more deserving of this award than you because I do not know of another human being on the planet Earth that is more curious, more compassionate, more caring of other peoples stories,” said King’s longtime friend Winfrey of the achievement.

“You’ve always loved news …. culture, pop culture. And so to be able to turn that into a complete profession that you are so good at. … You care so much. That is why you are so deserving of this reward,” continued the OWN network founder. 

At the top of the year, King celebrated her 11th season hosting “CBS Mornings” in her infamous yellow dress. Time will only tell if she will celebrate her final two years in a similar fashion, or if she will be on to new horizons before the new year.

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