Hot Drama Is More of a Quiet Biography Profile

Family feuds sometimes don't seem like all they're cracked up to be. In the media world, a dramatic TV show cascades into a final torrent of emotion - anger, sadness, or euphoria. But real life squabbles wind up being downright pedestrian.

This is the show of Cablevision Systems CEO Jim Dolan and his father Chuck Dolan, the founder of Cablevision.

USA Today portrays the tough-minded Jim Dolan as an executive trying to do right for his shareholders - especially in the post-Worldcom/post-Enron world. Dolan just wanted to properly sell one obvious money-losing programming operation, Voom.

But father Chuck had other ideas -- proposing to keep his old entrepreneurial fires firing with efforts to buy Voom, the high-definition programming and financial black hole which burned through $600 million and received a measly 30,000 subscribers. Chuck Dolan's special voting rights allowed him to change the board and make a personal deal for Voom.



In hearing comments from both sides, the now supposed tiff between son and father sounds downright respectful - and perhaps a little less dramatic than first assumed.

Jim talks about Chuck being a hero, someone who has guts, someone who helped invent the modern cable industry. Chuck talks about how Jim is a savvy executive - and if somehow Jim were to lose his job, the father would most definitely miss son.

Not those feelings weren't frayed on both sides. But apparently not enough, and not the cliché drama we have been looking for.

Chuck knows his son's score, now 10 years on the job for Jim: "Every year when we report our results and give our guidance, it's better than the year before," he told USA Today. "And, you know, that's the test."

Ah. That's the test.

Jim seems at peace now in allowing this old warrior one last flyer - even though he still calmly disagrees. Now, Jim can get back to other tests - such as writing some up-tempo songs with his band to help stir Cablevision's New York Knicks.

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