CNN’s ‘King Charles’ premiere was a spectacular flop: ‘It finished a distant third’

It was a show that nobody asked for, and its debut did about as well as nearly everyone predicted.

CNN’s “King Charles” — hosted by NBA icon Charles Barkley and Oprah Winfrey’s BFF, CBS “Mornings” anchor Gayle King — is officially a flop after debuting to just 501,000 total viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR).

“It finished a distant third among the biggest cable news channels in total viewers and didn’t really [move] the needle from CNN’s recent averages in the hour,” THR reports. “In fact, it ranks as the smallest audience of any of CNN’s primetime debuts this year.”

As BizPac Review previously reported, King and Barkley announced “King Charles” in April during TNT’s “NBA Tip-Off.”

The duo stated they wanted to have a “good conversation” on CNN, “without tearing each other down.”

The month prior, CNN had “posted its lowest ratings in at least three decades among viewers 25 to 54 years old, according to Nielsen, and its average of 535,000 prime-time viewers in the first quarter as of March 24 was down 35% from a year earlier,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

It was then-CNN’s Chief Executive Chris Licht’s final bid to attract viewers to the flailing network.

“This show will be an exciting new way we are delivering culturally relevant programming and unique perspectives to our audience, from two incredibly dynamic personalities,” Licht wrote at the time.

Six weeks later, he was shown the door at the network after staffers balked at a profile in The Atlantic, according to THR.

At least part of the problem with the show’s “exciting new way” is that it is pretaped, meaning Barkley and King can’t discuss breaking news during the hour, according to THR.

They can, however, take calls, including “a jokey one” from fellow basketball superstar and Barkley’s ” co-host, Shaquille O’Neal, the outlet reports.

Nevertheless, the ratings were dismal.

In comparison, “MSNBC’s ‘Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell’ averaged 1.57 million viewers Wednesday opposite the King Charles premiere – but trailed CNN in the demo by about 7,000 viewers,” according to THR.

Still, the show came in “slightly ahead of CNN’s November average at 10 p.m. weeknights, where Abby Phillip hosts ‘CNN NewsNight,'” it states. “That show averaged 474,000 viewers in November (excluding election coverage on Nov. 7, analysis of a Republican primary debate on Nov. 8, and Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week).”

“‘King Charles’ drew 139,000 viewers in the key news demographic of adults 25-54, also a little ahead of ‘NewsNight’s’ November average of 123,000,” it added.

According to Breitbart’s John Nolte, “Had CNNLOL launched the actual King Charles — you know, the former Prince of Wales — out of a giant slingshot and into a pile of his Global Warming lies, that might have attracted more viewers.”

Flopping is bad anywhere, but flopping on CNN is a special kind of awful.

“Being the biggest flop on CNN is like being the shortest midget in the circus, the fattest fat guy in Weight Watchers, the dumbest kid in special class, or Jake Tapper’s worst novel,” Nolte wrote. “Imagine your debut flopping harder than Kaitlan ‘Nurse Ratched’ Collins’s debut. But at least Collins has now found her audience — oh, wait, she hasn’t! (See #40 with 532,000 average viewers lol.)

“CNN is done, doomed, over and out.”

Nolte continued:

With only two other cable news outlets for competition, CNN’s top-rated show came in #32 — 32! MSNBC and Fox News filled in 31 slots before CNN could wedge one in. Funnier still, that show, something called Erin Burnett Outfront, attracted an average of only 741,000 viewers throughout all of November. You read that correctly: CNN’s numero uno show cannot even attract 750,000 viewers.

Get a load of this…

The lowest-rated show on all of Fox News (that doesn’t air before 6 a.m.) attracts more viewers (801,000) than CNN’s top-rated show (741,000). Saturday morning’s edition of Fox and Friends attracted more viewers (1.075 million).


“Which brings me to this question…” he wrote. “What were Gayle King and Charles Barkley thinking? It’s like they bought a ticket to board the Titanic as the Titanic was sinking.”

Melissa Fine


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