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Two Men Who Wield Studio Power Like Walt

Thomas S. Mulligan, Charles Duhigg and Claudia Eller of the Los Angeles Times profile Viacom (Paramount) and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone and News Corp (Fox) Chairman Rupert Murdock. With institutional shareholders – who are often disinterested in the particulars of content and day to day studio operations – in charge of most of the big film studios, these guys are the closest things to Walt Disney as far as the power they wield at their studios. That’s why this article calls them Last of the Titans.


"The amazing thing is that when Rupert says ‘Let’s do it,’ everyone drops everything to focus on whatever he wants," said one News Corp. executive. "It’s like an army that can turn on a dime."


"I am Viacom," Redstone, 83, said in a recent interview. "My life is Viacom and it continues to be Viacom. I live the company that I built from three drive-in theaters," a business he inherited from his father. He controls about 70% of the voting shares of Viacom and of CBS Corp., which were split apart in January.