Warner Bros. Discovery Ponies Up for Cast of ‘Inside the NBA’

Inside the NBA Warner Bros. Discovery Sports
Shaq, E.J., Kenny the Jet and the Round Mound of Rebound are all smiles after getting contract extensions (Image credit: Turner Sports)

Warner Bros. Discovery may be looking to cut costs company wide, but it will continue to pay the winning team at Inside the NBA, TNT's award-winning studio show.

The company said that Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal have signed long-term contract extensions that will keep them together and on the air for “many years to come.”

Some reports have Barkley’s deal alone carrying a price tag of more than $100 million.

The deal comes with the NBA being the next major league whose TV rights will come up for renewal.

“Our partnership with the NBA is very important to us and this long-term agreement with the Inside the NBA team is recognition of their significance to that relationship,” said Luis Silberwasser, named chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports earlier this year.Inside the NBA epitomizes the creativity and innovative spirit we've established throughout our successful, long-standing partnership with the league.”

Inside the NBA is entering its 33rd year and has won 17 sports Emmy awards. It was inducted into Broadcasting+Cable's Hall of Fame in 2016.

“We’re all a big family — Ernie, Kenny and Shaquille are brothers to me — and I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for them and all the amazing people who work on our show,” Barkley said. “I’m not gonna lie, though, this is a life-altering deal … and I’m blessed to be able to do live television for a living.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.