Former NBA star Charles Barkley will host a new primetime program on CNN starting this fall, the network announced Saturday.

The TNT analyst and CBS host Gayle King announced the new program, “King Charles,” during an NBA pregame show Saturday afternoon. The new show will air on Wednesdays.

The new show’s announcement comes as CNN faces declining ratings while also firing some more controversial personalities, including Brian Stelter. The network averaged 470,000 total viewers on Thursday, according to Mediaite, less than a fifth of the audience of Fox News.

Barkley played 16 years in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets, then became a commentator. He signed a 10-year contract with TNT in October that will pay him $200 million.

King, a close friend of media mogul Oprah Winfrey, has been with CBS News since 2011 after working as a local anchor in multiple cities, including Hartford, Baltimore, Kansas City and Washington, D.C., according to her bio on the CBS website.

CNN President Chris Licht has sought to rein in left-wing partisanship on the network, according to a 2022 report by Axios.

“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,” Barkley said.

“I just think we need to figure out a way to have a good conversation without tearing each other down,” King said during the discussion on TNT.

Barkley said he wanted to focus on gun violence, and not see the issue fade from discussion in the wake of deadly shootings, like ones in Nashville and Louisville.

“We need to talk about it, man.” Barkley said. “I’m a pro-gun guy, but it should not be easy to get guns.”

The show will also cover pop culture, food and other topics.

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Harold Hutchison

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