To quickly review the grand mal seizures that rocked Paramount's executive ranks yesterday: Not only is Paramount Pictures president Gail Berman out (as is co-president of production Alli Shearmur), but after failing to reach terms with the guy from the Water Tower Cafe on a deal to replace Berman, studio emperor Brad Grey has decided to eliminate her position entirely, preferring a "label strategy" of organization, in which every Paramount employee will provide Grey with an in-person, ten-second update on his day's work at the close of business each evening. With all the upheaval in his moviemaking fiefdom yesterday, wizened Viacom corporate overlord Sumner Redstone took a moment to give Grey, whose job security has often been questioned during his tenure atop the 'Mount, an unequivocal vote of confidence following his personnel moves:
"If Brad decided [Berman] was not for Paramount, then Brad was right," he said in an interview. "Brad's the boss, and I have total confidence in his decisions."
Redstone declined to comment when asked what Berman's exit settlement would cost Viacom.
"I have no idea what arrangements will be made between Gail, Brad and Paramount," he said.
Redstone added that he was feeling "very, very bullish" on Paramount these days: "Paramount is on a real roll. I believe in the first six months of this year, we'll go from the bottom to No. 1." [...]
As for nagging speculation that Snider could one day replace Grey, Redstone, 83, said, "I have no reason to believe that Brad will ever be gone as long as I'm alive — and I expect to be here for 50 more years."
This expression of support is even more impressive than it initially sounds; Redstone's pledge to keep Grey on for the duration of his stay on the Earthly plane (he cites the 50 years figure so as not to alarm the public with the fact that he will never actually die) is nothing short of a an invitation to drink of the immortality-granting chalice he stole "from some hippie a long, long time ago" and help Redstone rule his multimedia kingdom for Eternity.