REDSTONE'S BAD HEIR DAY
In the latest chapter of a dynastic drama that would intrigue a modern-day Shakespeare, Viacom mogul Sumner Redstone has become estranged from his daughter Shari, once considered the heir apparent to his media empire. In a derisive letter to Forbes magazine on Friday, Redstone wrote that Shari had made "little or no contribution" to his company. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has reported that father and daughter are negotiating a deal that would see her depart from her position with National Amusements, the holding company for Viacom and CBS. Shari, the Journal said, had agreed to step down but did not want to sell her 20-percent stake in the company unless her father insisted upon her doing so. Sumner Redstone said in the Forbes letter that he would consider buying her out "as long as the price is acceptable." National Amusements is reportedly valued at $8 billion. Last year Redstone settled a lawsuit brought by his son Brent who accused both his father and sister of freezing him out of the company. Reporting on the latest development, today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times said that Redstone is now "estranged from practically everyone in his family but his wife" and pointed out that he is also now being sued by a nephew, Michael, who claims that his uncle cheated his two children and himself out of portions of their inheritances.
BANCROFTS LIKELY TO DECIDE THIS WEEK ON WSJ SALE
The Bancroft family, owners of Dow Jones, the company that publishes the Wall Street Journal, is expected to meet today (Monday) to consider Rupert Murdoch's $5-billion bid for the company. The Bancrofts are expected to take several days to reach a decision. However, most analysts are predicting that Murdoch's bid will be accepted.
NBC: LAST IN RATINGS; FIRST IN AWARDS
The fourth-rated network continued to pile up awards Saturday. NBC was honored by the Television Critics Association with the group's top award -- outstanding program of the year -- for the freshman Heroes. The network's Friday Night Lights, a critical hit but a ratings flop, received the TCA award for outstanding new program. NBC's The Office took home the award for outstanding achievement in comedy, while the show's star, Alec Baldwin, won for individual achievement in comedy. HBO's The Sopranos took the trophy for outstanding achievement in drama.
REILLY SAYS HE HAD NO NON-COMPETE CLAUSE IN NBC CONTRACT
Former NBC President Kevin Reilly, who now holds a similar position with Fox, said that there was no "non-compete" clause in his NBC contract, something that allowed him to jump from one network to another in just a matter of two months. "I don't think this has ever happened before," Reilly told today's (Monday) New York Times. Responding to a comment by NBC Co-chairman Marc Graboff last week that the network did not fire him, Reilly told the Times: "You know, no one's ever really fired in Hollywood, are they? ... You can use whatever trade euphemism you want. I segued. I thought over the holidays that I wanted to explore other opportunities. I wanted to spend more time with my family, which I did for three days."
LARRY KING ANNOUNCES DEATH OF TAMMY FAYE MESSNER
One day after Tammy Faye Messner -- formerly Tammy Faye Bakker -- appeared in an interview on Larry King's CNN show, King disclosed that she had died of cancer at age 65. In the 1970s, Tammy Faye and her ex-husband, televangelist Jim Bakker, became the country's most renowned televangelists, raking in millions until Bakker became involved in sex and fraud scandals that cost him his television show and eventually sent him to prison.