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The Tao of Zaz

david zaslav
I know it may be crazy, but at the moment, I think David Zaslav, as unpopular as he has become in various circles, is acting like a lifeguard. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
May 26, 2024

This may be an imperfect metaphor, perhaps too neatly tied to a summer commencement ritual, but what’s going on in Big Media these days is not unlike a group of swimmers who find themselves struggling to stay afloat in rough waters. They can take an every-man-for-himself approach in order to survive. Or they can act like a lifeguard and work together to keep everyone’s head above water and get back to dry land. 

I know it may be crazy, but at the moment, I think David Zaslav, as unpopular as he has become in various circles—pissing off Hollywood creatives with his cash-optimizing slash-and-burn moves, infuriating Charles Barkley with his NBA auction strategy, or annoying Wall Street with his company’s deteriorating stock price—is acting like a lifeguard. Zaz is trying to survive by working together with the other swimmers.