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CNN reportedly negotiating with Charles Barkley for primetime show


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CNN is reportedly turning to former NBA all-star Charles Barkley for a primetime show. 

Puck reported that Barkley, who has been on television for over 20 years as a sports analyst for TNT, is being eyed to potentially fill one of CNN's vacant weeknight time slots.

According to the report, two unnamed sources say CNN boss Chris Licht "is now in negotiations to bring Charles Barkley to CNN for a news-oriented primetime show."

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"Chris is having conversations with dozens of culturally relevant individuals from the worlds of news, sports, entertainment and comedy," a CNN spokesman told Fox News Digital. 

Licht is also reportedly having talks with "CBS Mornings" co-host Gayle King, who Licht previously worked with as the executive producer of King's morning program, for a primetime show. 

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As Puck's Dylan Byer pointed out, "The Barkley deal would allow Sir Charles to continue his role with TNT, just as the offer to King allows her to continue anchoring ‘CBS Mornings,’" adding that Barkley in particular would be relying on in-house talent as CNN and TNT share the same parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery. 

It was previously reported that CNN was looking at comedians to potentially be placed in primetime, particularly following the success of Fox News' "Gutfeld!", which has quickly become the most-watched late-night show on television frequently outpacing CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and regularly trouncing NBC's "Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live." 

Names that were allegedly floated at CNN included Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Arsenio Hall and Bill Maher

CNN'S DON LEMON-CENTERED MORNING SHOW SUFFERS STEADY VIEWERSHIP DECLINE THROUGH THREE MONTHS

Last week, CNN announced that it would be airing Maher's "Overtime" segment on Friday nights, which were previously released on YouTube immediately following HBO's broadcast of "Real Time," another property of Warner Bros. Discovery. 

"Are we really on CNN now?" Maher chuckled during last week's "Overtime" segment. "Did they go nuts?"

Despite the viral buzz that was generated, CNN did not reap the benefit from its in-house exclusive. 

"CNN Tonight" saw a 30% decline in viewership from the week prior, reaching just 400,000 viewers, which was roughly half of Maher's audience on the premium cable network last Friday night, according to Nielsen Media Research. 

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For over a year, CNN has struggled to fill the gaping hole in its primetime lineup. After the 2021 firing of Chris Cuomo, the 9 p.m. ET time slot has been a revolving door of failed experiments from Jim Acosta to Jake Tapper while oftentimes the network has turned to 8 p.m. anchor Anderson Cooper to do two back-to-back hours. 

The primetime woes grew further complicated in September when Licht pulled Don Lemon, who anchored his own two-hour show from 10 p.m. til midnight, to launch a morning show alongside Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, which was met with behind-the-scenes drama and waning viewership. 

Lemon's old time slot has frequently been filled by CNN anchors Alisyn Camerota and Laura Coates. 

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