- Barkley isn’t expected to leave TNT Sports anytime soon after signing a new deal
- TNT Sports exec Craig Barry declined to reveal any potential candidates
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Charles Barkley isn’t expected to leave TNT Sports anytime soon, but the network is admittedly eyeing replacements for whenever the popular Inside The NBA co-host retires from television.
‘We want him to be here, but we also want him to be happy and to live his life, and when he feels like he’s had enough, it’ll be time to move on,’ said Craig Barry, the Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer for TNT Sports’ parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. ‘We have people in mind that we think would be interesting.’
Barkley, 60, recently signed a reported 10-year, $100 million deal in August to continue analyzing NBA games on TNT, but told Sports Illustrated soon thereafter that he doesn’t expect to finish the contract: ”There’s no chance in hell I’m gonna be working when I’m 70. Zero.’
Along with Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson, Barkley is a beloved co-host of TNT Sports’ Inside the NBA studio show, which serves as a pre-game, half-time, and post-game accompaniment to the network’s nationally televised games.
Only now, with TNT Sports obtaining NBA rights for the UK and Ireland, the celebrated quartet will be seen on the other side of the Atlantic, where the league continues to cultivate a growing audience.
Charles Barkley isn’t expected to leave TNT Sports anytime soon after signing a new deal
Barry declined to respond when Mail Sport asked if candidates included current analysts or players.
However, TNT Sports has previously used controversial Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green in an on-air role, and New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand previously named the suspended 33-year-old as Barkley’s ‘heir apparent.’
Whoever gets the job, Barry knows Barkley’s replacement will inevitably be a departure from ‘Sir’ Charles.
Craig Barry, the Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer for TNT Sports’ parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports
‘It’s not gonna be Charles, it’s not gonna be Shaq, it’s not gonna be Kenny, it’s not gonna be Ernie, and it’s certainly not gonna be them together,’ Barry said. ‘But we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t have ideas of ways we thought we could keep a show – if not this show – interesting and progressive.’
Meanwhile, TNT Sports is currently negotiating a new US media deal with the NBA. The current $24 billion ESPN/TNT Sports agreement expires at the end of the 2024-25 season.
And by helping the league connect with British and Irish audiences, TNT Sports is hoping to illustrate its overall value to the NBA, both domestically and internationally.
‘We’re in the middle of that negotiation,’ Barry said. ‘I guess what I would say is that we’re in the global sports business. And whenever those opportunities have come together and create a larger opportunity for the company, I think that’s really interesting to us.
‘I think, quite frankly, our bosses too are looking at this as a unified opportunity,’ Barry added.