Future of ‘Inside the NBA’ on TNT: Charles Barkley Speaks Out Amid Broadcasting Rights Uncertainty

Uncertain Future for 'Inside the NBA' as Charles Barkley Weighs In on Broadcasting Rights Issues
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The iconic TNT post-game show ‘Inside the NBA,’ beloved by fans for its dynamic analysis and camaraderie between hosts Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal, is facing potential cancellation after the 2024-25 season due to ongoing broadcasting rights negotiations.

The Uncertain Future of ‘Inside the NBA'

NBA fans are concerned that the three-time Emmy-winning sports show is on the verge of being canceled due to ongoing rights for the NBA broadcasting rights. Charles Barkley, an 11-time NBA All-Star, recently expressed his concerns about the future of ‘Inside the NBA’ on TNT, highlighting the uncertainty surrounding NBA broadcasting rights.” Barkley vented frustration over the potential end of “Inside the NBA” on TNT, criticizing the decisions behind the scenes and revealing plans to reconstruct the show through his production company.

Broadcasting Rights Bidding War

Barkley revealed that he had discussed continuing “Inside the NBA” with his co-hosts through his own production company if TNT loses the NBA rights. The bidding for the rights has seen massive offers from four major companies. As reported by SportsPro Media, ESPN is expected to pay around $2.8 billion for the NBA broadcasting rights. NBC’s offer is around $2.6 billion, and Amazon’s deal ranges from $1.8 to 2 billion. If ESPN cannot retain the rights of TNT, the program will move to NBC and will likely be without Ernie Johnson due to the other sports coverage he does on TNT, including hockey and baseball.

According to CNBC.com media reporter Alex Sherman, the competition for NBA Broadcasting rights is fiercer than ever, with major companies like ESPN, NBC, and Amazon all making substantial bids.”

Charles Barkley’s Vision for Continuation

“I have my own production company. I would love to do that if we lose it (NBA rights). Someone even suggested online that I sign up the other guys and sell the show independently. I thought, That’s a great idea.”

Impact on Production Crew and Fans

It’s not just that the potential shutdown of the beloved show is heartbreaking for all the sports fans around the world who find the show entertaining, but it’s also the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes for the production. According to Barkley, more than 200 people are expected to lose their jobs if the show is canceled after the 2024-25 season because all the crew and people working behind the camera won’t move with the cast if the show is moved to NBC or another program next year.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple. I feel terrible for my coworkers. We’ve never been involved with college football, and I was like, shouldn’t we spend every dime to keep the NBA? So morale sucks, to be honest with you.”

Warner Bros. Discovery’s Stance

The five-time All-NBA first-team player criticized Warner Brother executives, pointing out the recent Sports Emmy Awards won by ‘Inside the NBA.’’ He compared the quality of their work to high-end wines like Inglenook and Opus, contrasting how executives treat them – like cheap, low-quality wines. Barkley was furious that the executives were more focused on acquiring college football than the NBA when it’s the more popular sport on TNT and averages more views.

The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, added the In-season tournament this season, which began on November 3 and ran through the 28th. This new tournament that Silver added during the regular season of the NBA gained a massive attraction from fans. With the current NBA season attracting over 4.58 million viewers on ESPN and the uncertain negotiating rights of the program, the potential loss of ‘Inside the NBA’ could significantly impact fans watching basketball.

The show continues to garner top honors and awards. At the 2024 Sports Emmy Awards in New York, ‘Inside the NBA’ won its third consecutive Emmy; Barkley won his fifth Emmy for Outstanding Personality/Studio Analyst. Johnson won his seventh sports Emmy for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host. The show also won for Outstanding Studio Show - Limited Run.

Despite all these awards that the show is pulling in, Warner Brothers CEO David Zaslav stated that WB is better off without it. This frustrated Barkley and caused him to call out WBfor not acknowledging the NBA and its importance to the fans who watch it and ignoring it like it’s nothing.

“They came out and said we don’t need the NBA, and that probably pissed off [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver. When we merged, the boss said we don’t need the NBA, but the rest of us–me, Kenny, Shaq, Ernie, and everyone who works here–need it. So it just sucks right now.”

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, Barkley admitted that he does not know what will ultimately happen. He acknowledged the conflicting reports about the future of NBA rights, with some indicating NBC’s lead and others suggesting TNT is still in contention.

As negotiations continue, the future of ‘Inside the NBA’ remains in limbo; fans of the longtime show might soon have to bid farewell to their favorite cast to watch as its broadcasting rights hang in the balance.

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