With Chris Licht in Hot Water, Is There a Countdown Clock on Charles Barkley's CNN Show?

2023 NBA Finals - Game One
2023 NBA Finals - Game One / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal's [NBA] watch has ended for the year. After signing off on TNT last week and then getting dragged back to cover the first two games of the NBA Finals for NBA TV, the offseason finally started on Sunday night. NBA TV even put a countdown clock on the screen just so Shaq and Barkley would know how long until they were free. The amount of time remaining apparently shocked Barkley twice during the postgame show.

As it finally ticked down to zero, Barkley's final words for the season were, "Shaq gonna be working. Chuck gonna be doing nothin'."

Certainly a notable thing for someone to say when they're apparently a couple months away from hosting a brand new show on CNN. This seems to signal that Barkley will not be spending the summer in production meetings. Barkley is probably just looking forward to showing up the night of the show for an unfiltered conversation with Gayle King that will not get political.

This seems like a perfect time to wonder if this show is ever actually going to happen. The guy who came up with the idea of giving Charles Barkley a show on CNN is suddenly on the hot seat. CNN CEO Chris Licht is the subject of a massive profile in The Atlantic that was published on Friday and it doesn't sound like things are going great over there. The piece has inspired a number of reaction pieces with even more dire headlines. Axios called the piece "devastating." NY Magazine and the New York Post are wondering aloud if he will survive this, just to name a few examples.

Here's the lone mention of Barkley in The Atlantic article.

And yet, little in Licht’s first-year record indicated that success was on the way. His biggest achievement—luring Charles Barkley and Gayle King to co-host a show—was hardly going to revive CNN’s prime-time lineup. The program, “King Charles,” would air only once a week, leaving Licht still in search of the win he needed to juice CNN’s ratings—and perhaps save his job.

So his biggest win is something that hasn't actually materialized and has no chance of doing anything to help the declining ratings. King Charles sounds a lot like a vanity project that a new CEO would immediately nix. And no one would even remember it was considered a year from now. So you've got to believe the fate of the show Charles Barkley is not preparing to do, is resting on whether or not Licht can hold onto his own job. Luckily, there probably aren't many - if any people - actually invested in the show.