CNN boss Chris Licht has reportedly approached old CBS pal Gayle King to help juice the prime time ratings of his struggling network.
Licht has pitched the “CBS Mornings” anchor to host or co-host a weekly show at night on CNN in a deal that would allow her to retain her day job at CBS, according to a report from Puck News.
The move would reunite the former Tiffany Network executive with King, who has rose to prominence at CBS News for buzzy interviews with the likes of R&B singer R. Kelly, President Joe Biden, actor Will Smith and the family of slain Memphis man Tyre Nicols.
“Chris has talked to dozens and dozens of people to gauge interest in potential projects at CNN,” a rep for CNN told The Post on Tuesday.
King and CBS News did not respond to requests for comment.
During his time at CBS, Licht helped successfully reboot “CBS This Morning,” (recently rebranded “CBS Mornings”) in 2012, bringing on co-hosts Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and King.
While a CNN deal would translate into long hours for King, it is not unheard of for an anchor to moonlight for rival networks. Anderson Cooper hosts a nightly show on CNN and also serves as a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Since decamping for CNN last year, Licht has struggled to remaking the ratings-challenged network, and is now looking for big talent to help boost viewership.
Licht told the Los Angeles Times this week that he is “in conversations with relevant individuals from the worlds of entertainment, sports and comedy who can bring fresh and unique perspectives to the news” to fill the network’s coveted 9 pm slot.
But part of CNN’s dilemma is budgetary under parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, which needs to cut at least $3.5 billion by the end of 2023. Staffers at CNN have seen the impact of that mandate already.
In less than a year on the job, Licht has slashed hundreds of jobs and reshuffled the network’s lineup in an effort to move CNN away from commentary-driven and partisan opinion in favor of straight news.
The exec’s biggest programming move to date has been to launch “CNN This Morning,” a new morning show co-hosted by Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins. While the show has had some wins, its ratings have generally been lackluster.
According to Nielsen data, the show had its lowest-rated week earlier this month since it launched last November, averaging just 331,000 viewers—less than a third of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and less than half of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”—and just 65,000 in the 25-to-54-year-old demo.
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