Viacom topper Sumner Redstone has been tabbed as honoree for the Paley Center for Media’s annual Gotham gala, held Feb. 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
The affair will be hosted by Jon Stewart, who returned to Viacom-owned Comedy Central on Monday as host of “The Daily Show.” In his first night back after being off the air since the writers strike began, he skewered the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for its position in the ongoing Writers Guild of America brouhaha.
On “The Daily Show,” his monologue — which was done without the benefit of staff writers — included some verbal shots at Viacom, including, “Well, you may be asking yourself, why did Viacom sue YouTube? They sued YouTube for a $1 billion — clearly a figure they pulled out of their asses. If there was real money on the Internet, wouldn’t they have gone after a real figure?”
With Stewart, a vocal WGA member and host of the Oscars on Feb. 24, as emcee and Redstone as the evening’s honoree, the temperature of the proceedings could be chilly.
The Writers Guild of America East may picket the event, as it sees Redstone as one of the leading decisionmakers in the producers alliance. WGAE spokesman Sherry Goldman said Tuesday that a decision had not yet been made.
Redstone, who has been a member of the board of trustees at the Paley (the former Museum of Television and Radio) since 1997, is being honored for his contributions to the media industry.