CNN Throws In The Towel On Charles Barkley And Gayle King’s New Show, Cancelled After 6 Months

CNN Throws In The Towel On Charles Barkley And Gayle King’s New Show, Cancelled After 6 Months


Photo: Gayle King and Charles Barkley on "King Charles," CNN

CNN has pulled the plug on its prime-time program “King Charles,” co-hosted by Charles Barkley and Gayle King, after a short-lived six-month run. The show, which aired on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST, failed to gain traction and attract viewership, ultimately leading to its cancellation.

“King Charles” was introduced last November with high hopes, but it struggled to compete with other programming–it didn’t even generate more viewers than reruns of the sitcom “Friends” and the adult animated series “South Park.”

In fact, “King Charles” was the lowest-rated prime-time weeknight series debut for CNN in at least a decade, according to Nielsen.

Since debuting in November, “King Charles” viewership dropped 20 percent. The first airing had a total viewership of 500,000 and 139,000 in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age demographic, according to Nielsen.

A spokesperson for the show pointed out that “King Charles” drew an audience that was 44 percent non-white, representing the most diverse viewership among all of the network’s prime-time shows, as per Nielsen data.

But the show’s Jan. 31 episode didn’t meet the 100,000 viewer threshold in the 25-54 demo.

Despite efforts to promote the show and leverage the star power of Barkley (who already had the popular show “Inside the NBA” ) and King (who co-helms “CBS Mornings” daily, it ultimately fell short in delivering the desired ratings and engagement.

The program was conceived by former CNN Chief Executive Chris Licht, who departed the network in June following a tumultuous tenure of slightly over a year. Another project led by Licht, a redesigned morning program, was discontinued earlier this year, The New York Post reported.

When CNN announced, Barkley described the show as nonpolitical. “We don’t want to say, ‘We’re a liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat’—that’s one of the things that’s already ruined television in general,” he said, The Wall Street Journal reported.. 

The show was part of a push by CNN to test prime-time programming to boost a ratings decline the cable news network has been experiencing.

Photo: Gayle King and Charles Barkley on “King Charles,” CNN