'An Epic Fail': CNN Roasted Amid Reports That the Network Is Targeting Charles Barkley
If you haven't been paying attention to the beleaguered CNN lately, first of all, good for you.
Second of all, you should really start paying attention.
So what is a network that is routinely being thrashed by its chief competitor to do so it can stem the tide?
For now, the answer to that question, at least from CNN CEO Chris Licht, appears to be "star power" and "name recognition."
Remember, CNN has yet to officially replace disgraced former anchor Chris Cuomo in prime time, instead opting for an egalitarian approach with a rotating cast of hosts. And with Don Lemon and his temper tantrums being relegated to the mornings, the only two carry-overs from the Trump era for CNN's primetime block are Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper.
Based on the ratings, those two are simply not cutting the dijon.
Puck News' Dylan Byers reported the network is in talks with Barkley and provided some fascinating tidbits about the general state of CNN, such as its desire to rake in $900 million in profits this year (the network saw $750 million in profits in 2022).
SCOOP @PuckNews: CNN C.E.O. Chris Licht, envisioning a bold new primetime strategy, is in talks to bring Charles Barkley—yes, Charles Barkley—to the network. As previously reported, he’s also trying to woo Gayle King, and others … https://t.co/HbCEcOsCft
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) February 10, 2023
So what would Barkley's potential program look like?
"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," Byers wrote. "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."
To Licht's credit, Barkley does certainly have some mass appeal.
While nobody would be lining up to call him an outright conservative, he does, at the very least, appear to have common sense, thus putting him in the top 2 percent of all celebrities.
But perhaps the most appealing trait of Sir Charles is that, love him or hate him, there is an air of authenticity to him that is hard to replicate. People, especially celebrities, are so scared of offending a subset of a subset of a minority that it often sounds like you're listening to the person's lawyer more than the person himself.
And yet, if you look at some of the responses to Byers' report, you can see that, while some fans seem open to the idea, many of them are not.
It's almost comical what Licht thinks will be good for the network and what people want. None of his moves have improved the content or their performance.
— Samhain442 (@Samhain442) February 10, 2023
I like Chuck...this would be an EPIC FAIL on CNN's part.
— Robert or Bobby your choice (@CanenationIII) February 10, 2023
What is #CNN thinking? Are they still in the news business or what? This is not going to work.
— Citizen_Campbell (@campbell_elroy) February 10, 2023
I get it: ratings, clicks, mentions, publicity, etc.
How exactly is this going to work in terms of news value?
(also, don't get me started on using late night comedy to fill space on cable news)
— Ruben Hidalgo (@RubenAHidalgo) February 10, 2023
"Comical." "Epic fail." "Late night comedy."
The early reviews are in, and they're not good for CNN's reported pursuit of Barkley.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.