Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley address uncertain future of ‘Inside the NBA’ on TNT amid talk of $2.5bn NBC deal


Shaquille O’Neal is ‘very confident’ that ‘Inside the NBA‘ will remain on TNT next season, despite chatter that NBC is about to pry TNT’s TV rights for the league away.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Comcast Universal (NBC’s parent company) was prepared to offer $2.5billion per year for the rights – more than double what Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT’s parent company) is currently shelling out on average, at $1.2billion.

NBC winning the rights would likely spell the end of ‘Inside the NBA,’ the beloved studio show featuring O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and host Ernie Johnson, but O’Neal doesn’t seem to be sweating. 

‘I don’t know [about the show’s future], but hopefully [Warner Bros. Discovery CEO] David Zaslav will take care of business, I’m sure he will,’ he told reporter Adam Glyn. 

‘I think we’re in a great spot right now.’

Shaquille O'Neal said he was 'very confident' about the future of beloved 'Inside the NBA'

Shaquille O’Neal said he was ‘very confident’ about the future of beloved ‘Inside the NBA’

His colleague Charles Barkley, however, seemed less assured that the show would continue

His colleague Charles Barkley, however, seemed less assured that the show would continue

O’Neal’s friend and colleague Barkley was a little less assured.

‘We don’t know. I mean, it’d be sad [if the show ended]. We don’t know,’ he said.

‘I hope it does [continue]. Not just for me and Kenny, Ernie, and Shaq, but for the real people who work there, it sucks right now to be stressful. 

The pair’s comments come after longtime sports journalist and Ringer founder Bill Simmons said the deal was ‘done’ on his eponymous podcast.

‘One of the funniest things ever is that we’re all pretending that the TV deal wasn’t done like a week and a half ago,’ Simmons said earlier this week.

‘I think it’s done. I think Warner [Bros. Discovery] already lost it,’ he continued.

TNT's parent company Warner Bros has been paying less than half of the $2.5bn fee per year reportedly being offered by Comcast Universal (NBC's parent company)

TNT’s parent company Warner Bros has been paying less than half of the $2.5bn fee per year reportedly being offered by Comcast Universal (NBC’s parent company)

‘And I don’t know why we’re waiting until after the playoffs, maybe that’s how they have to do it. But it’s a wrap. NBC’s getting it. I’m just telling you.’ 

Warner, which began airing games in 1984, has paid an average fee of $1.2billion per year to the league according to the Wall Street Journal.

The network was unable to reach a new pact with the NBA before an exclusive negotiating window expired last week. 



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