You can be forgiven if you'd forgotten this but when Chris Licht was at his most desperate and flailing, he reached out to Charles Barkley and gave him a show with Gayle King. It was called King Charles at the time but in a news release announcing wholesale changes to the channel's lineup this morning. It was also billed under news that Abby Phillip and Laura Coates would each be getting a primetime show.
Gayle King and Charles Barkley: As previously announced, King Charles, with Gayle King and Charles Barkley, will debut later this fall on Wednesdays at 9pm as a limited series. The show will feature freewheeling, authentic and dynamic conversations, centered around the people and events shaping our culture.
Our previous skepticism is well-documented but we concede that people love freewheeling conversations that are authentic and dynamic and center around the people and events shaping our culture. Sit down next to any normal human at a bar and those exact words are likely to come out of their mouth. But remember, the discussions between Barkley and King will also be nonpolitical as we ramp up to an election that honestly could be our last. Point is, that's a very tough needle to thread.
Thankfully for all involved, they won't have to thread it too often as this is simply a limited series that will air on some Wednesdays and not the backbone of a reimagined future. The NBA season begins on October 24th and that will remain Barkley's main gig so it's entirely possible we're all sitting around at Thanksgiving sharing memories of the show, wishing they could have more midweek treats. Or maybe they'll establish a biweekly schedule or come together like once a month as time goes on. No matter what, building any type of momentum is going to be a tall order.
So the Barkley show: still happening in the fall and be prepared to savor it when it does.
Editor's note: A previous version of this post suggested that King Charles name was not official, which is incorrect. We apologize for the error.