Inside the NBA, TNT
(Warner Bros. Discovery/TNT)

'Inside The NBA' On Deathbed As League Media Rights Likely Shifting To NBC

We may be entering the next-to-last season of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O'Neal and host Ernie Johnson on the set before and after NBA games.

That's because it appears TNT is about to lose its media rights to NBC, along with Amazon Prime and holdover ESPN/ABC. In short, the league has been in broadcast/streaming negotiations since about the end of March. And per Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal, NBC is about to outbid TNT-owned Warner Bros. Discovery.

The new media rights agreement goes into effect for the 2025-26 season, which means pre- and postgame show Inside the NBA would only get one more run. The league and its broadcast partners are expected to formalize a written agreement this week.

"Industry sources believe ESPN will ultimately pay $2.8B annually — though other industry sources insist it is still an earlier reported $2.6B — for the league's 'A' package, which includes the NBA Finals, a conference final, weekly primetime games, the WNBA and likely shared international rights," Friend wrote.

"NBC's proposed 'B' package is believed to be now worth $2.6B annually — up from a reported $2.5B — and would probably include a 'Basketball Night in America' on Sunday nights following the NFL season, a total of two primetime windows a week, conference semifinals and a conference final. Amazon's deal is believed to be worth between $1.8B and $2B and would likely include the Emirates In-Season Tournament, the SoFi Play-In Tournament, first-round playoff games, the WNBA and international rights."

So, yeah, a return to NBC would mean TNT is indeed out of luck. As for the actual games, no one would probably care. But man, they sure would miss Inside. Johnson, for one, said he would remain with TNT Sports regardless of what happens next with the NBA.

Barkley and the rest would be left to find broadcasting work elsewhere — but you can be sure at least Barkley would resurface.

NBA games were televised by NBC Sports in the 1990s to early 2000s before moving to TNT.