×

Leslie Moonves Allegations Could Clear Path for Shari Redstone’s Next Moves

Shari Redstone was under a ton of pressure when she arrived in Sun Valley, Idaho, earlier this month for the annual Allen & Co. conference of media moguls and tech titans. But she didn’t show it.

Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, was upbeat and cheery throughout the week of the high-powered gathering in the mountain resort. At one point she joked with the ever-present photographers and did a spontaneous happy dance to demonstrate her enthusiasm for the enlightening speakers and programming at the conference.

At the same time, Redstone politely but firmly refused to talk to reporters about the turmoil in her professional life, particularly the pending lawsuit from CBS that aims to dilute her voting power in the company.

Now that the Leslie Moonves sexual misconduct scandal could change the dynamic at CBS, Redstone’s next moves will be closely watched in many quarters. Her efforts to exert influence at CBS have been met with skepticism, anger and even derision in the past. But with Moonves severely weakened, the path could clear for Redstone to assert herself even more.

Redstone has made no bones of her interest in bringing CBS and Viacom back together (the companies were merged in 2000 and split up again in 2006 by her father, Sumner Redstone). The CBS board hasn’t hidden its objection to a merger, given Viacom’s poor track record for most of the past decade.

Redstone showed real steel in 2016 by driving sweeping changes at Viacom. She spearheaded the ouster of chairman-CEO Philippe Dauman and used her voting clout to bring new blood onto a board that had continually rewarded Dauman with huge paydays despite the company’s deteriorating performance.

Sources close to the situation say Redstone’s focus on CBS is ensuring that the board is composed of strong members with relevant media-biz experience. She is also concerned about reports that the workplace culture at CBS can be challenging for women — something CBS veterans say has been blown wildly out of proportion by a few bad apples in a company with some 20,000 employees.

As Redstone navigates the crisis unfolding at CBS, her trusted advisers include Jill Krutick, a former Wall Street analyst and current board member of Redstone’s National Amusements Inc. holding company; Robert Klieger, an attorney and a CBS board member; and Jonathan Miller, a partner in Redstone’s Advancit Capital investment vehicle. She also relies on the counsel of her three adult children — Tyler Korff, Kimberlee Korff Ostheimer and Brandon Korff — and her son-in-law, Jason Ostheimer, who is a partner at Advancit.

Redstone has made history as the first woman to be in control of such a large swath of a U.S. media business. The events of the next few months will likely make or break her reputation as a mogul to be reckoned with.

More Biz

  • Asian Streamer Iflix Completes $50 Million

    Asian Streamer Iflix Completes $50 Million Fund Raising

    Asia-based streaming firm Iflix has completed its latest funding round by bringing in major institutional investor Fidelity. The company says it is now looking towards an IPO. Iflix, which has operations across 12 countries in Asia, says that the funding cycle brought in “well in excess of $50 million,” but provided few new details. Other [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA West Unveils Candidates for Election That Reflects Discord Over Agency Campaign

    The WGA West has unveiled the slate of candidates for officer posts and board seats in the election that reflects the divisions among members over the guild’s handling of the campaign to reform its rules governing talent agents. Scribes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) and William Schmidt (“Yellowstone”) are set to challenge David Goodman for the president’s [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix Target of Shareholder Lawsuits After Q2 Subscriber Shortfall

    Like clockwork, Netflix’s big miss on subscriber targets for the second quarter of 2019 have prompted lawsuits filed on behalf of shareholders. At least two suits seeking class-action standing were filed Monday, by the Rosen Law Firm and Schall Law Firm, which both specialize in investor litigation. The lawsuits allege Netflix violated SEC regulations by [...]

  • Terry Wakefield Exits Sony/ATV to Head

    Terry Wakefield Exits Sony/ATV to Head Up A&R at UMPG Nashville

    After a decades-long tenure at Sony/ATV Nashville, Terry Wakefield has followed another alumnus, Troy Tomlinson, across town to take a top position at Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville. Wakefield is senior VP of A&R at UMPG after having been senior VP of creative in his previous post. Personal loyalty to Tomlinson, UMPG Nashville’s recently named chairman/CEO, [...]

  • Sally Williams at PBS Country Music

    Sally Williams to Leave Longtime Opry Home for Top Post at Live Nation in Nashville

    Nashville executive Sally Williams is leaving Opry Entertainment, where she rose to the top over a two-decade tenure there, to join Live Nation’s regional office as the president of Nashville music and business strategy, the company announced Monday. Live Nation said Williams will not only lead programming and marketing for their concerts in the area, [...]

  • Fourward

    Management Company Fourward Taps Christopher Burbidge as Head of Talent Division

    Will Ward’s management company Fourward has promoted long-time colleague Christopher Burbidge to head the company’s rapidly growing talent division, while also promoting Brooke Blann to manager in the company’s music division. Both Blann and Burbidge are based in the company’s Los Angeles office and will continue to report directly to Ward. Burbidge works closely on [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Kaplan Stahler Agency Signs Modified Code of Conduct in Win for WGA

    Kaplan Stahler has become the latest agency to sign the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) modified code of conduct in a win for the Guild. In a message sent out to WGA members today, the negotiating committee wrote that the agreement with Kaplan Stahler “bans packaging fees and agency-affiliated production companies and, through information-sharing, makes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content