Variety finally offers some insight into how recently pinkslip-happy Viacom executive mummy Sumner Redstone decided to cleave his corporate kingdom in twain and install yingy MTV builder Tom Freston and yangy CBS despot Les Moonves as the twin CEOs of his newly split companies, a move that stoked a highly entertaining feud between Redstone's vassals. Notes Var:
Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone says he had originally offered Tom Freston the job of sole CEO of Viacom — before it split — but Freston declined.
Redstone asked Leslie Moonves. "Naturally, being Les, he grabbed it. Then Tom came back and said he wanted it and that created problems," Redstone said in an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast on PBS Wednesday.
The rest is history. Viacom split, with Freston and Moonves each getting their own company. Redstone fired Freston, his colleague of 20 years, last month.
Indeed, it's all history now. Freston was carried out of Viacom's headquarters on his shield by his adoring throng of ex-employees, leaving him $60 million to blow on his soul-searching trip to Burma. And as for Moonves, well, Redstone will learn the consequence of backing his second CEO choice when he awakens in the middle of the night, his attempted scream swallowed by the pillow being pressed against his face, and hears Moonves' unmistakable voice gently cooing, "It's your time, old man. Just let go."
- Sumner speaking out [Variety]
- Previously: Sumner Redstone Displeased By Moonves-Freston Slap-Fight [Defamer]