Warner Bros. Discovery Sports announced on Monday (Oct. 17) that TNT’s Inside the NBA show co-hosts —Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal — have re-signed to the network for the long run, Variety reports. All four hosts will have their contracts extended with a pay increase.
“I’m happy for ‘The Godfather’ and Kenneth … is there someone else I’m forgetting?” O’Neal jokingly said. “I’m kidding … love you, Charles. As long as I say, ‘Are you not entertained?’ and the answer is ‘Yes,’ then we’re going to keep this thing going.”
Barkley has reportedly been offered a 10-year deal. Although the Hall of Famers’ exact salaries have not been disclosed, it is alleged that the amounts are in the nine-figure range and could be close to $200 million. However, there is still a possibility that any one of the hosts could decide to retire before fulfilling their contracts.
“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,” expressed Barkley. “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.”
Smith added, “I’ve been on a few championship teams in my day, but there’s nothing quite like this one. I wanted to continue doing the show because of the basketball and cultural impact that our show has become. I’m excited for the season and many more to come.”
“I always say there are ‘Got to, jobs’ and Get to, jobs,’ and the four of us clearly have ‘Get to, jobs’,” said Johnson. “It’s been a journey of a lifetime to work on this show, with Charles, Kenny and Shaquille at the desk and alongside such an amazingly talented crew behind the scenes. I’m very blessed.”
The four analysts have hosted the 17-time Emmy-winning show together since 2010. Smith, Barkley and Johnson offered commentary as a trio on the show before O’Neal joined.
Inside The NBA‘s announcement comes as the NBA’s regular season begins. TNT’s tip-off coverage starts Tuesday (Oct. 18) with the Philadelphia 76ers against the Boston Celtics.