Charles Barkley Reportedly in Negotiations With CNN for Primetime Show

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Everyone must find their why. Their reason for getting up in the morning. For me, it's to see what new idea CNN CEO Chris Licht is going to cook up next for the network. His latest comes via a report from Puck News' Dylan Byers, who reports that negotiations are underway to lure Charles Barkley to buoy a floundering primetime lineup.

The show would see the 11-time NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer, and current mega-popular TNT Inside the NBA analyst interviewing newsmakers, journalists, and other guests about various topics of the day. The conceit is that a genuine, outspoken, often humorous figure like Barkley might be a bigger draw than the traditional self-serious newsman, and might be better suited to ask guests the kinds of questions that average Americans actually care about. Reached for comment, CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said, “Chris is having conversations with dozens of culturally relevant individuals from the worlds of news, sports, entertainment and comedy.”

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To be fair, one can see how this makes some sense on paper. Barkley is undoubtably one of biggest draws in all of television and has a long history of dipping not just his toes, but most of his leg into political issues. He has that wonderfully milquetoast mastery of bothsideism that's all the rage right now at a network running as fast as it can from it's Trump-bashing past and would be something fresh and new. If a deal were to manifest it wouldn't get in the way of his basketball duties, which will always be Barkley's lodestar even as he's been open and honest about his desire to branch out. Remember that whole Ross and Rachel thing he did with LIV Golf?

America is probably ready for a Barkley-led political show. He's a big name who will say some stuff and, honestly, the hour will be entertaining because he cannot help but be entertaining. But consider, if you want, the qualitative analysis we should be expecting to get should it materialize. Barkley, for all his good qualities, has an openly antagonistic relationship with preparing himself to talk about basketball. The thing he's paid to discuss. The thing he played. It's truly inspiring how flagrant he is about not putting in the work.

How would that translate to political infotainment?

The whole thing seems fraught. Which is why it's likely to happen.