Bird>Rabbit>Man>Fish

You’ll have to forgive our ol’ pal Yosemite Zas if he seemed a little out of place last night.  There he was, the Long Island native and presumed Knicks fan, leading off a post-time out segment of celebrity attendee spottings at last night’s Knicks playoff game, on no less than TNT, what remains of truTV and Max, with his name and title superimposed no less, sitting in courtside seats.  Just behind the Philadelphia 76ers bench.

(For the record, that’s Zas with a coupla buds at a Lakers game earlier this year, not the Garden last night.  We’re still waiting for someone to post an uplodable image; if you’ve got one, send it our way).

At the time, Zas was all smiles, as at the time of his cameo the Knicks were holding a fourth quarter lead and seemingly on their way to a series-clinching victory.  Basketball fans know all too well how the rest of the night unfolded for them, and if you don’t, you can always visit our sister site, thedoubleovertime.com, for the sordid details.

It was a fitting coda to a pretty crummy day for Zas and his company, as THE MOTLEY FOOL’s Jeremy Bowman reported:

Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD -9.69%) were heading lower today on reports that its TNT cable network was expected to lose the rights to air the NBA in the latest auction.

Separately, the stock also seemed to be declining in response to Paramount Global‘s slide after its rival reported disappointing earnings and took a step closer to a merger, seemingly putting a nail in the coffin of a once-rumored merger with Warner Bros. Discovery.

As of 1:26 p.m. ET, Warner Bros. Discovery stock was down 9% on the news.

QUARTZ’ Melvin Backman underscored these dour developments:

Warner Bros Discovery stock hit a 52-week low on Tuesday after a Wall Street Journal report suggested the media giant might lose out on a bid to continue airing National Basketball Association games. Swooping in for the steal would be NBC, whose parent company Comcast might pony up as much as $2.5 billion a year to air regular-season and playoff games.

Yep, that would be the very same company that Zas came to fruition in as a senior distribution executive, a skill set now alarmingly absent in Paramount Global’s camp after Monday’s unceremonious dismissal of its CEO and most experienced negotiator Bob Bakish.   And, still more ironically, should Shari Redstone’s preferred choice of suitor prevail, Bakish’s likely replacement will be the former head of NBCU, Jeff Shell, who prior to his own ouster had begun to formulate and champion the plan to return the NBA to the media company that it was partnered with during much of the Michael Jordan era.

And Bowman reminds that there are potentially further trickle-down effects should this be one of the last times Zas would be able to be the recipient of a few synchopantic underlings hoping to curry favor with the boss by turning a camera on him at a ballgame:

Losing the NBA would not only be a setback for TNT and the Max streaming service, but could jeopardize the company’s position in the announced sports streaming joint venture with Walt Disney and Fox, as it would clearly give it less to contribute.

So we likely wouldn’t expect any Zaslav sightings at any NFL game anytime soon, either.  Foxy Lachsie and Bob AIger don’t take losses any easier than Knicks fans.

And if you did happen to watch TNT’s coverage of what turned out to be a miraculous Philadelphia comeback last night, it was hard not to notice how much the once-number one cable network had fallen even as it aired what will likely be the most-watched program of the night given the combantants and the magnitude of the event.  NBA playoffs historically served as a high-reach promotional launching pad for new summer seasons of TNT original dramas and TBS original comedies.  Heck, even in recent years it was still a logical place to make more people aware that Dwyane Wade had become a game show host.

Now?  Those crucial promotional spots were dedicated to new seasons of Food Network and TLC reality shows, the personal favorites of Yosemite’s portfolio because they are a) cheap and b) repeatable.  And, of course, a perfect demographic match to NBA playoff basketball.

To be fair, no NBC-NBA deal is yet done so much like the Sixers who Zas hung out with last night, they’ve both still alive.  And you do know that he has some experience with the game?  Albeit with the Toon Squad that took the court against Lebron James in SPACE JAM 2–you know, the far less popular one.

Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam in Space Jam 2

The well-received INSIDE THE NBA post-game show reaches its zenith of popularity and zeitgeist during the playoffs, especially on nights when losing teams’ seasons end.   Their GONE FISHING segments are brilliantly irreverant salutes that photoshop players and others associated with the exiting cities.  The Phoenix Suns, for whom both Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal once played for, were the first 2024 playoff team to be ousted, and their segment featured especially snark-filled waters.  Judge for yourself:

But unless Zas has a magic bullet or two left in his six-shooter, this may be one of the last times that those hosts will don those jaunty caps and loosen their ties, at least on his watch.

Which could send someone else off on a very extended fishing trip. 

Until next time…

 

 

 

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