Media Moguls, Please Keep Your Family Close--And Somewhat Less Dramatic

In the crazy land of media moguls and big media and TV companies, there is always a major player who is never happy, always dramatic, and ready to make a scene--metaphorically speaking.

Carl Icahn isn't in high spirits with Dick Parsons of Time Warner. Last year Laclan Murdoch was grumbling to his father Rupert over his handling of News Corp. Now Brent Redstone,the estranged son of Sumner Redstone, is in a hissy fit over how his father is operating National Amusements.

The younger Redstone has filed a lawsuit against National Amusements, a company Sumner Redstone controls, which in turn controls Viacom and CBS, in an effort to break up the company, saying that he, Brent, has not been treated fairly and that his sister, Shari, is being favored. Brent Redstone is on the board of National Amusements.

The younger Redstone wants access to the proceeds from a breakup of National Amusements, a privately held movie theater company, said to be worth $8 billion. Brent Redstone would be entitled to one-sixth of the company or $1.3 billion. Apparently a standard weekly allowance isn't enough.



Brent Redstone accuses his father of playing favorites with his sister and of misappropriation of funds.

Carl Icahn wants a similar turn--though he, as far as we can tell, isn't related to Dick Parsons. Icahn wants a breakup of Time Warner that will glean a big stock price sale for him and all shareholders.

In a different approach, Lachlan Murdoch also wants a bigger piece of the pie. Last year, he objected to Rupert Murdoch's plan to include the young children from his new wife to be given an equal share in a family trust that ultimately would give them a share in the control of the company.

Brent Redstone also wants more himself, and has walked into court to make a dramatic point.

What does this say about media companies? That apparently there isn't enough media money to go around. That too many family members are willing to go public to get their way. Did we forget to mentions the Dolans of Cablevision? How about Roy Disney?

Right there you have four high-tension, publicly-seeking media family dramas--all which couldn't come at a better time. It's February sweeps, after all.

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