×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Legal Battle Over Viacom Board Shake-Up Headed to Delaware Court

A Delaware courthouse will be the next stage for the ongoing legal battle for control of Viacom.

Wednesday marks the first hearings on an ongoing dispute about National Amusement’s decision to remove five of the directors of Viacom. Those directors include CEO Philippe Dauman, who remains in control of the media conglomerate behind Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central while he awaits a decision on the legality of the moves. National Amusements is the theater company owned by Sumner Redstone. It has an 80% controlling stake in Viacom.

The hearing will take place an 2 p.m. in the Delaware Court of Chancery and both parties have until Tuesday afternoon to submit motions. Lawyers for National Amusements want the court to uphold the shakeup, while Dauman and the ousted members are asking to keep the board intact. Both sides are asking for an expedited ruling.

That dispute could be consolidated with another pending decision about how Viacom will be governed while the case unfolds.

The corporate shakeup unfolded last week. In addition to Dauman, Redstone and his loyalists moved to oust George S. Abrams, Blythe J. McGarvie, Frederic V. Salerno and William Schwartz.

His team hopes to replace them with Kenneth Lerer, co-founder of the Huffington Post and chairman of Buzzfeed; Nicole Seligman, a lawyer and former Sony executive who represented President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial; Judith McHale, former Discovery Communications chief executive; Thomas J. May, the chairman of the Eversource Energy utility and director at Bank of America; and Ronald Nelson, chairman of Avis Budget Group and former co-chief operating officer of DreamWorks SKG.

Dauman has been criticized for earning tens of millions in compensation while Viacom properties such as MTV and Comedy Central suffered ratings dives and lost top talent like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to other networks. Paramount, the film studio Viacom controls, has also suffered at the box office, stumbling with such recent releases as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Zoolander 2.” On Monday, Dauman defended his tenure in an interview with Fortune, blaming the media for fixating on the corporate wrangling while ignoring the creative culture he has fostered. He also said that much of his compensation was tied to stock performance, which meant he had lost money as the share price fell.

“The press loves drama,” Dauman told Fortune. “People are missing the business story. This is a great place to work. We have great values. Creativity is at the center of it. We want to do good while we do well. We attract great millennial talent.”

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content