Meghan Markle being lined up for new chat show

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The Duchess of Sussex is being lined up to publicly relaunch herself in America… on a new TV chat show called King Charles.

The weekly prime-time series, which will air on cable news giant CNN, derives its irreverent title from the names of co-hosts Gayle King – a close friend and wedding guest of Harry and Meghan – and basketball legend-turned-pundit Charles Barkley.

A production source said: “Meghan is right at the top of their wanted list and Gayle and the show’s executives believe the duchess would guarantee an enormous launch audience.”

Ms King, 68, who will continue as an anchor on CBS Mornings, told trade magazine Variety at last month’s official announcement of “King Charles” that she wants the show – a one-hour live discussion programme that will debut in late summer or early autumn – to “offer good conversation without tearing other people down”.

The production source said Ms King also wants to be the first to interview Meghan, who has unveiled a “more serious image”.

A recent Newsweek poll saw Harry’s approval rating drop to minus 22 percent and Meghan’s to an even worse minus 33 percent, with only 27 percent of Americans saying they like Meghan, compared to 44 percent who do not.

It comes as the couple found themselves at the centre of a storm over their claims they were caught up in a “near-catastrophic car chase” with paparazzi through the streets of New York after an awards bash.

The claims overshadowed Meghan’s appearance at the event, which had been billed by media experts as part of her “glam relaunch”.

It saw her presented with a Women of Vision award for her “lifelong advocacy for women and girls”. Brand and culture expert Nick Ede said: “Meghan is positioning ­herself as an inspirational figure – which she is to many – and she’s doing what she does best, highlighting causes while highlighting herself.”

PR guru Mark Borkowski added that, with Princess Kate also image-building back in Britain, the “savvy” duchess is fighting back with a fresh public profile after negative publicity over Harry’s explosive memoir Spare and their Netflix series.

A spokesperson for the Sussexes’ company Archewell said it “isn’t true” that she has any current chat show invitations.

But the production source said: “No guests have been lined up at all yet for King Charles show because the launch is a few months away. But Gayle believes Meghan will want to seize the opportunity to rebuild her image.”

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Meanwhile, a leading US security expert has questioned the tactics of Harry and Meghan’s own security during the controversial car journey through the streets of New York. A spokesman for the couple said the pair, along with Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland, were in a “near-catastrophic car chase” involving paparazzi.

The claim has attracted criticism from some Americans and a refusal by the picture agency at the centre of the allegations to hand over any images and video obtained to the couple.

During the car journey the pair are said to have switched between their SUV and a yellow cab, before returning to their SUV. They are said to have stopped off at a police station in a bid to evade the photographers. Mark Selden, president of Allstar Security, claims that it made “zero sense” for Harry, Meghan and her mother to bundle into a taxi with a lone guard after first seeking sanctuary at a police station.

Their SUV pulled into the police precinct after being followed by photographers for 18 blocks when they left the city’s Ziegfeld Ballroom after the charity event.

They then stunned onlookers by hailing the cab, which in turn was followed by paparazzi.

Mr Selden said: “They were at a police precinct, which is the safest environment they could have been in. And that’s where they should have stayed. They should never have left. Completely zero sense.”

Taxi driver Sukhcham Singh said he was flagged down by a security guard and drove Harry, Meghan and her mother around the block before returning to the police station. “I wouldn’t call it a chase. They gave me a $50 bill for the $17 fare. They didn’t say much. They asked my name and after that Harry said thanks and have a good day.”

The Sussexes eventually got back in their SUV and, when the coast appeared clear, were driven to the location where they were spending the night in New York.

Former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett was sceptical of some of the details of the chase as relayed by the Sussexes’ spokesperson. “I don’t believe there was any high-speed chase that lasted two hours. You can actually drive through all five boroughs of New York in two hours,” he said.

In response to calls to hand over material to Harry’s lawyers, news agency Backgrid USA said that it warned the couple’s team not to try to censor the US media, writing: “Perhaps you should sit down with your ­client and advise them his English rules of royal prerogative to demand the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago.”

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