Gayle King Reportedly Finalizing Deal With CNN For Primetime Program
The 68-year-old has been long rumored as a top choice by CNN CEO Chris Licht to help improve the networks shrinking ratings.
After much speculation, Gayle King is reportedly finalizing a deal with CNN to host a weekly primetime television show.
According to The Wall Street Journal, King is in the closing stages of an agreement to join CNN, with negotiations ongoing with Inside the NBA’s Charles Barkley to join King on the program.
Last week, King said she had no interest in leaving CBS Mornings anytime soon.
“I’m very close to Chris Licht. I like him very much, but on that question, ‘me no speak English,’” King joked at AdWeek’s Convergent TV Summit after being asked about a potential deal with CNN. “Let’s just say I have two years left on my contract with CBS, and I have no intention of leaving CBS.”
The 68-year-old has been long rumored as a top choice by CNN CEO Chris Licht — who worked with King during his tenure as the Executive Producer of CBS Mornings — to help improve the networks shrinking ratings. CNN has averaged 575,000 viewers in primetime during the first quarter of 2023, down 30% from a year ago.
CNN is expected to post its lowest ratings in the coveted 25-54 demographic in at least three decade, according to the report from WSJ.
The pairing of Barkley and King originally sounded like a foreign concept, but late last month the former NBA star admitted the only reason he would consider doing a program with CNN is because of King’s involvement.
“I’m only considering it because of my respect for Gayle,” Barkley said. It would be an honor and a privilege to work with Gayle.”
Barkley told The New York Post he was not interested in doing a daily program, which King’s schedule with CBS Mornings would not allow.
News Media Reacts to Chuck Todd Announcing Meet The Press Exit
Todd has been the subject of much criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
To end Sunday’s show, NBC News Meet The Press moderator Chuck Todd announced he would exit the show in September after a nine-year run leading the program.
Todd has been the subject of much criticism from both sides of the political aisle. Many have claimed he is too soft on misinformation spread by Republicans, while conservatives have charged that he has shown a liberal bias during his tenure.
Many in the news media world shared their surprise that he was stepping aside, and lauded the decision to replace him with Kristen Welker, who has most recently served as a White House correspondent for NBC.
Welker herself called Todd a “mentor and friend”, and shared she was “humbled and grateful to take the baton and continue to build on the legacy” of the show that debuted in 1947.
Chuck Todd Leaving Meet The Press in September
“I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.”
Chuck Todd announced he would depart Meet The Press Sunday, ending a nine-year run anchoring the Sunday political affairs program.
To close Sunday’s program, Todd announced that he would leave the show in September, and will be replaced by Kristen Welker.
“It’s been an amazing nearly decadelong run. I am really proud of what this team and I have built over the last decade,” Todd said. “I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.”
Todd has been the subject of criticism from both sides of the political aisle during his tenure but added he believes the show still holds an essential place in the media landscape.
“When I took over Meet the Press, it was a Sunday show that had a lot of people questioning whether it still could have a place in the modern media space,” Todd added. “Well, I think we’ve answered that question and then some.”
Welker will step into the role held by Todd since 2014. She becomes just the second woman to anchor the program after Martha Rountree was the show’s inaugural host more than 75 years ago.
“Meet the Press has sustained its historic role as the indispensable news program on Sunday mornings,” NBC News’ President of Editorial Rebecca Blumenstein and NBC News’ Senior Vice President of Politics Carrie Budoff Brown wrote in a memo to NBC News staffers.
“Through his penetrating interviews with many of the most important newsmakers, the show has played an essential role in politics and policy, routinely made front-page news, and framed the thinking in Washington and beyond.”
The announcement that Todd will step aside from hosting the program comes after scuttlebutt had mostly ceased about his future as the show’s moderator. Late last summer, The Daily Beast’s Confider reported Welker was in line to replace Todd should the ratings continue to decline.
Fox News Average Viewers Dropped 32% in May
“ Newsmax saw an increase in viewership, gaining 70% to reach 298,000 prime-time viewers.”
Fox News Channel experienced a significant decline in prime-time viewership in May, following Tucker Carlson’s departure. The channel’s average viewers dropped by 32% to 1.42 million, compared to April’s results of 2.07 million, according to Nielsen ratings.
Despite the decrease, Fox News Channel maintained its position as the cable news network with the highest ratings. MSNBC’s ratings came closer to Fox’s, trailing by just 260,000 viewers, with an average of 1.16 million total viewers. MSNBC lost 12% of its prime-time viewership compared to the previous month.
According to Media Post, CNN also experienced a decline in viewership, losing 16% in May compared to April, with an average of 416,000 viewers. It is worth noting that these results included a highly-rated Town Hall event featuring former President Trump.
On the other hand, Newsmax, a conservative news network, saw an increase in viewership, gaining 70% to reach 298,000 prime-time viewers.
Analysts suggest that Newsmax benefited from Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News at the end of April. Carlson had the highest viewership among all cable TV news programs in April, averaging 3.1 million viewers. Following Newsmax was Nexstar Media’s “NewsNation” with 94,000 prime-time viewers, which had an average of 101,000 viewers in April.
In terms of total day viewership, Fox News Channel remained the leader. However, all three major networks experienced a decline compared to the previous year, with Fox at 1.09 million, MSNBC at 736,000, and CNN at 416,000 viewers.
“The Five,” Fox’s roundtable program, was the highest-rated prime-time cable news show in May, attracting 2.63 million viewers.
In the overall rankings among all cable TV networks for the month, Fox News Channel secured the third position, trailing behind TNT and ESPN. TNT and ESPN claimed the top two spots in prime-time for cable TV networks, with 3.1 million and 2.5 million average viewers, respectively. This success was largely due to their coverage of high-profile NBA Playoff games.
Maddy Troy serves as a writer and editor for Barrett News Media, with a specific focus on media business, advertising, and podcasting. You can find her on Twitter @Troy_Maddy.