Tom Freston Out At Viacom As Sumner Redstone Claims Another Victim

Disappointed that absorbing Tom Cruise's lifeforce was not sufficient in restoring his rapidly desiccating, centuries-old human shell to a sufficiently vital state, immortal Viacom executive vampire Sumner Redstone has also drained president and CEO Tom Freston of his essence, announcing this morning in a company-wide e-mail that he's cast aside Freston's spent, fleshy husk and replaced him with a pair of new minions, who will be allowed to ripen a bit before suffering the same soul-gobbling fate:

——-Original Message——-
From: Redstone, Sumner
Sent: Tue 9/5/2006 7:31 AM
Subject: Message from Sumner
Dear Colleagues:

Today we announced that Philippe Dauman and Tom Dooley are rejoining Viacom. As many of you know, they are both long-time former senior executives and current Board members who have served as Deputy Chairmen and have been my most trusted advisors at Viacom through some of the most significant events in our history. Philippe has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and Tom has been named to the new role of Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.

We also announced that Tom Freston has resigned his positions with the Company. Tom has been a friend and colleague for many years and a driving force at MTV Networks from its inception. We will always be grateful to Tom for his many contributions to Viacom over the past 20 years, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. With the support of our exceptional employees, Tom built MTV Networks into an unmatched power in the entertainment industry, an achievement that can never be diminished and will not be forgotten.

And somewhere deep within his stronghold at sister company CBS Corp., Les Moonves takes a greedy bite of a blueberry muffin, throws back his well-coiffed head, and unleashes a celebratory cackle, pleased that all is proceeding according to his nefarious plans.

The rest of Redstone's e-mail, heavy on the up-with-Viacom rhetoric and light on the reasons for Freston's exit, is after the jump.

But now, we must look ahead to the future. In the rapidly evolving worldwide digital marketplace, Viacom has a tremendous opportunity to become the leading creator of entertainment content on television, in film and on the internet. Many of you have worked with Philippe, so you know that he is the perfect choice to lead our company into this new era. He has the leadership skills, operational expertise, industry knowledge and judgment to take us to new heights and ensure that we reach our full potential in the years ahead. The Board and I have great confidence in Philippe and we know that, together with Tom, who has outstanding financial and management skills and has had an association with Viacom spanning more than 25 years, we will have a leadership team that is unbeatable.

I have worked closely with Philippe and Tom for over 20 years, and in addition to their current Board service, both men previously served in a broad range of senior management roles at Viacom. I am proud of our past accomplishments as a team during a period that was the most eventful and successful in Viacom's history. Additionally, apart from Viacom, they have worked together the last six years as the principals of DND Capital Partners, and have significant experience in analyzing the evolving media space through their involvement in venture capital and private equity financing.

Philippe and Tom share my tremendous passion for Viacom and its people, and for all our great brands and properties. Their complementary skills, broad media industry expertise and ability to identify unique opportunities will enable Viacom to execute successfully on our strategy.

You can find additional details on today's announcement on Viacom.com. We also encourage you to listen via web cast to the conference call scheduled for 9:00 am ET today.

Thank you for your continued hard work and commitment to Viacom.

Regards,

Sumner

[Photo: Getty Images]