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CEO Chris Licht Stokes Fires At CNN With Potential Hire Of NBA Analyst Charles Barkley, Staffers Privately Revolting

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Feb. 23 2023, Published 6:30 p.m. ET

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CNN staffers have caught wind of reports that CEO Chris Licht plans to hire Charles Barkley for a weekly news-oriented primetime show to boost ratings, stoking fires at the already struggling network, RadarOnline.com has learned.

One source described it as "another disaster waiting to happen," comparing it to an attempt by MSNBC to utilize Alec Baldwin's star power for a failed primetime show that lasted only five episodes in 2013.

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Earlier this month, it was revealed that Licht has been considering a number of on-air talents from the worlds of news, entertainment, sports, and comedy to join his team.

It is speculated Barkley might garner more interest than the traditional newsman and could be better suited to ask hard-hitting questions. The platform would have him interviewing newsmakers, public figures, and other guests about various hot topics.

"People watch [Barkley] to talk about sports," the tipster said of the former NBA star, "not politics and social justice."

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The longtime broadcaster and renowned sports studio analyst's background was also a cause for concern due to the reaction it may have.

The source added, "They'll be spending a lot of money on someone who's not a real journalist. That's not going to help morale when people have lost jobs there."

As we previously exclusively reported, sources familiar with the situation said embattled CNN anchor Don Lemon, for one, was "relieved he survived the purge" at the network before causing a stir with his comments about Nikki Haley, 51, not being in "her prime."

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Since taking over at CNN, Licht has "taken so many swings and they've been big misses! It's very sad how he's taking this iconic brand and destroying it," another insider alleged.

Sources said the potential deal will allow Barkley to continue his role with TNT, similar to the arrangement proposed for Gayle King, which would allow her to continue anchoring CBS Mornings even if she becomes a regular CNN fixture with her own weekly show.

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Barkley, for his part, seemed open to the idea but said he wasn't sold quite yet.

"They are trying to pair Gayle King and me," Barkley told The Post. "We don't have anything set in stone. I'm only considering it because of my respect for Gayle."

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