Shari Redstone, who appeared destined to succeed her father Sumner as head of the company that controls Viacom and CBS, has apparently fallen into disfavor with the 84-year-old media mogul and may be ousted from her present post with the company, published reports said today (Friday). The Wall Street Journalreported that Shari, president of National Amusements and vice chairman of Viacom and CBS, is negotiating her separation. However, her spokesman said, "Shari has no intention of leaving the company and she remains committed to serving on the boards of Viacom and CBS." And while the London Financial Times quoted people close to Sumner Redstone as saying that relations with his daughter had broken down and that he no longer has confidence in her as a potential successor, Daily Varietyquoted Redstone himself as saying, "I can't pick a successor. ... It's up to the boards of the two companies to pick a successor."


NBC is being slapped with a $100-million lawsuit filed by the sister of Louis "Bill" Conradt, the chief felony assistant district attorney for Rockwall County, TX, who committed suicide when Murphy, TX police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly soliciting sex from a decoy working for NBC's Dateline and posing as a 13-year-old boy. "NBC was responsible for his death," Patricia Conradt's lawyer, Bruce Baron, told the New York Post. "They conducted their sting operation and intentionally and with negligence sensationalized the situation." Critics of the Dateline"To Catch a Predator" series have been critical of the program's apparent efforts to lure men who otherwise might be reluctant to act out sexual fantasies. In a statement, NBC said that it intends to defend itself against the lawsuit, "as we believe the claims are completely without merit."


Saturday Night Liveproducer Lorne Michaels has confirmed that NBC executives have discussed the possibility of a producing a reality series in which the audience would judge which skits performed during the dress rehearsal would wind up on the actual show. They have also suggested a talent contest in which the winner would become a cast member, he said. However, he told the Edmonton Sun, "It's not a bad idea. But it's a little bit what we make fun of, so it's hard to then go out and do the straight version of it."


Chrysler has apologized for a commercial that aired in the Netherlands and subsequently made its way onto YouTube showing a dog going up in flames after urinating on a Nitro. In its apology, the company said that the ad, produced by the company's Dutch ad agency, BBDO Netherlands, showed "fictional yet inappropriate treateatment of an animal" that was "in extremely bad taste." Chrysler said that it had also asked YouTube to remove the ad. Reporting on the controversy over the ad, Reuters curiously linked it with a report that the Atlanta Falcons' Michael Vick had been indicted over his alleged involvement in a dog-fighting operation. Vick, the wire service added, "has no connection with Chrysler Group."


The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday approved a bill sponsored by West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller that would effectively overturn a court decision barring the FCC from fining broadcasters for airing fleeting expletives in live broadcasts. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin welcomed the lawmakers' action, saying that it would affirm "the commission's ability to protect our children from indecent language and images." However Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters insisted that broadcasters "go to great lengths to prevent [indecent] language, and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise." And Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief at the libertarian Reason magazine, told CNSNews.com, a unit of the conservative Media Research Center, that Congress ought to be dealing with such issues as terrorism and poverty. "This helps explain why congressional approval ratings are at 14 percent and going down."


Shemar Moore, who plays Special Agent Derek Morgan on CBS's Criminal Minds, has told TV Guide Onlinethat Geena Davis is likely to succeed Mandy Patinkin on the series. Moore was critical of Patinkin's abrupt decision to leave the show. "No warning, no nothing. We all showed up to work Day One, and he didn't. ... He essentially just slapped us in the face." Moore seemed to confirm the official news release attributing Patinkin's exit to "creative differences." He said, "Sometimes the content of what we did would affect him more some days than others." Moore said that he expected Patinkin's career to take a hit as a result of the walk-out, pointing out that the actor/singer had done the same thing on Chicago Hope in 1995. "He did it once, OK. This one's going to sting a little bit. At least it should sting. Bottom line is, he didn't show up to work -- with no warning. He didn't tell anybody."