If you haven’t been paying attention to the beleaguered CNN lately, first of all, good for you.
Second, you should really start paying attention.
Because the way the “Clinton News Network” aimlessly rambles on about post-Donald Trump is far more entertaining than the amount of drake it’s thrown on the airwaves.
So what is a network that is routinely beaten by its main competitor to stem the tide?
For now, the answer to that question, at least from CNN CEO Chris Leach, seems to be “star power” and “name recognition.”
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According to Pak News, the struggling news network is looking to bring on NBA legend and “Inside the NBA” co-host Charles Barkley to host his own “news-oriented primetime show.”
Remember, CNN has yet to officially replace disgraced former anchor Chris Cuomo at prime time, instead opting for an egalitarian approach with a rotating cast of hosts. And with Don Lemon and his temper tantrums, the only two Trump-era carryovers for CNN’s primetime block are Erin Barnett and Anderson Cooper.
Based on ratings, these two simply aren’t cutting it.
Will hiring Charles Barkley be a disaster for CNN?
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Pak News’ Dylan Byers reports that the network is in talks with Berkley and has some impressive news about CNN’s general health, such as its desire to make $900 million this year (the network is expected to make $750 million in 2022).
SCOOP @paknews: CNN CEO Chris Licht, envisioning a bold new primetime strategy, is negotiating to bring Charles Barkley—yes, Charles Barkley—to the network. As previously reported, he is also trying to impress Gayle King and others… https://t.co/HbCEcOsCft
— Dylan Byers (@dylanbyers) February 10, 2023
So what would a potential program at Berkeley look like?
“The show will see the 11-time NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer, and current mega-popular TNT Inside the NBA analyst interview newsmakers, reporters and other guests on various topics of the day,” Byers wrote. “The conceit is that a genuine, outspoken, often humorous personality like Barkley can be a bigger draw than the traditional self-serious correspondent and better suited to ask guests questions that average Americans really care about.”
To Licht’s credit, Berkley certainly has some mass appeal.
While no one would line up to call her a total conservative, she seems to have, at the very least, common sense, thus placing her in the top 2 percent of all celebrities.
But perhaps Sir Charles’ most striking trait is that, love him or hate him, he has an air of authenticity that is hard to replicate. People, especially celebrities, are so afraid of offending a subset of minorities that it often feels like you’re listening more to the lawyer than the person.
That was never a problem for Berkeley. For better or worse, that’s what you see when rebounding rounds come to the mound.
And yet, if you look at some of the reactions to Byers’ report, you’ll see that while some fans seem open to the idea, many of them aren’t.
It’s almost ridiculous that Leach thinks it would be good for the network and what people want None of his actions improved the content or their performance.
— Samhain442 (@Samhain442) February 10, 2023
I love Chuck… That would be an EPIC fail on CNN’s part.
— Robert or Bobby your choice (@CanenationIII) February 10, 2023
what #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 got it: ratings, clicks, mentions, promotions, etc.
How exactly is it going to work in terms of news value?
(Also, don’t start using late night comedy to fill space on cable news.)
— Ruben Hidalgo (@RubenAHidalgo) February 10, 2023
“Playful.” “Epic fail.” “Late Night Comedy.”
The early reviews are in, and they’re not good for CNN’s reported pursuit of Berkeley.
This article was originally published in the Western Journal.