Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Freston Fiasco, Take 1


(image via gawker)

The scene of the crime. It's like a scene in a goddamn Otto Preminger flick. Black and white. A shriek. Sumner, Methuselan, looking more than a little rickety, holding the smoking gun. His smile is more a skeletal ricktor. Producers who will speak on the record, but ask not to be identified because they work frequently with Paramount. The beloved Tom Freston, bloodied. Les Moonves, enveloped in shadows, chiaroscuro: Only his Cheshire smile in evidence. Over in the corner, that's the previously inscrutable Brad Grey, scared fucking shitless.

Just what the fuck was Sumner Redstone thinking?

Everyone likes Tom Freston. Freston is like a Rorsach test. If you don't like Tom Freston, you're probably an asshole. As head of the newly minted Viacom spinoff for only eight months he should have been given a little bit of slack in turning things around.

So, of course, Viacom shares, which Sumner always trains his laserlike gaze on, are plummeting. Is Redstone exhibiting signs of senility?

And then there was Bill Carter's piece in The New York Times where Sumner was quoted as saying he was "practically crying"

Please. The Old buzzard wasn't crying. He's physically incapable. His tear ducts ceased functioning during The Enlightenment. If Sumner even tried to wax lachrymose, he would only emit ash.

MySpace has been the cause of many a break up -- for cheating, etc -- but now it has the singular achievement of breaking up one of the most potentially powerful media marriages. You see, Sumner never quite forgave Freston for losing out on Myspace to Newscorp. It rankled the grisly veteran. Redstone tried to forgive but he didn't have it in him.

Whatever the case, Tom Freston won't have to worry about finding a new job. Not that he needs much help landing with that $60 million Golden parachute.

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