YAHOO SPORTS' Ben Rohrbach noted despite NBA viewership being down early this season, there is "no season-long concern over dwindling interest in the league." Following Wednesday’s games, ESPN’s viewership is "even to this point last season." TNT is "banking on a back-loaded schedule in terms of high-profile matchups and a Martin Luther King Day slate culminating in another Lakers-Warriors tilt to boost ratings." NBA TV is "roughly even," and a "majority" of RSNs are up (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/13).
OFF THE AIR: In San Jose, Chuck Barney notes NBC Sports Bay Area's "The Happy Hour," an evening TV show "covering the Northern California sports scene, has been canceled." The program, "regularly anchored by Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Ray Ratto, will conclude its run" on Dec. 21. There was "no update on how the cast and crew will be redeployed." Created as a replacement of sorts for “SportsTalk Live” in April '17, the show "struggled to gain ratings traction" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 12/14).
MORE EXPOSURE: In Miami, Greg Cote notes ESPN's Dan Le Batard is launching the Le Batard & Friends Podcast Network, anchored by the “South Beach Sessions” show that will include a "series of weekly in-depth, one-on-one interviews." The full weekly schedule is to "launch on Jan. 8, but there will be a preview episode" on Dec. 18 where Le Batard interviews former Jemele Hill. Guests on subsequent episodes are "expected" to include "Chappelle Show" co-creator Neal Brennan and Fox' Joe Buck (MIAMI HERALD, 12/14).