Gayle King is set to become the highest-priced ticket at CNN, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.
As the struggling cable giant finalizes a deal to add King amid the network’s lowest ratings in decades, RadarOnline.com can reveal the popular host of CBS Mornings is set to pocket at least $12 million per year for one hour of work.
The as-yet untitled or announced show will see King parachute into the primetime slot to save CNN after its collapse in the wake of Chris Cuomo’s ousting — a story that hit headlines yesterday but is old news to our readers.
With the network facing an existential crisis amid a staff revolt, bitter in-fighting, a revolving door of exits, and tanking numbers, King, 68, faced the prospect of being able to “write her own check” as a demand, according to a well-placed television source.
This month, CNN finished the quarter with the smallest primetime audience in the key demo since 1991.
RadarOnline.com has been told the deal will be north of $12 million per year to front a once-weekly primetime show, potentially alongside former NBA star Charles Barkley, who is signed to TNT, a CNN stablemate.
Barkley earns a whopping $10 million at TBS where he is a co-host of Inside the NBA in a deal said to be worth, in total, more than $100 million.
“Gayle will not only be the highest paid person at CNN, she and Charles will be the highest paid on-air pair,” an insider told RadarOnline.com. “It will also make Gayle one of the highest people on television when you add her CBS contract into the mix.”
King already earns more than $13 million per year at CBS.
The imminent appointment of King of Barkley will be the first major win for embattled network boss Chris Licht, a veteran of CBS News and MSNBC who helped create those networks’ morning show-winning formula, but has struggled to replicate the success at CNN.
Earlier this month Licht faced a report he was set to be fired “by Labor Day” from the network he took over after RadarOnline.com exposed its former honcho Jeff Zucker for having an inappropriate relationship with another executive.
Since, Licht’s boss, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav has jumped to his defense and insisted the television wunderkind is not under any pressure to retain his job.
King’s pay packet will eclipse CNN’s previously highest-paid star Anderson Cooper, who is said to be on $12 million per year.