“Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy”: https://amzn.to/3lehXP5

He called his daughter the c-word, on more than one occasion.

I’d tell you that’s all you need to know, but there’s more, much more.

I only picked up this book because it was co-written by James B. Stewart, author of “Den of Thieves,” the best financial book I’ve ever read.

But it starts out trashy.

Now if you’ve read all the reviews, and there have been a plethora, you don’t need to read “Unscripted.” But you might want to. Not so much for Sumner Redstone’s crudity and salacious activities as the duplicity of the executives and the boardroom shenanigans.

But let’s start off with Sumner. Although well-publicized, at the end of his life he had two live-in girlfriends. One he was engaged to, the other who he dated previously. And there was a third woman brought in to sexually satisfy him. Never mind that he continued to call the former private airline flight attendant who he essentially stalked and browbeat into submission, in all ways if not sex.

You see it’s about the money. Sumner spread it, bought women houses. Laid so much cash on them that not only did they never have to work again, they became philanthropists in their own right.

As for the CV of these women…

Maybe you don’t live in Hollywood, i.e. the greater Los Angeles area. Because if you did, you’d find the best-looking women in America. Toned and treated… They come to Hollywood to make it, oftentimes without portfolio. Their looks are their calling card. And they have to make bank before their looks fade.

I know, I know, it sounds kind of offensive, but it’s true. Just like the boyfriend who’s been on TV, but has also been in jail. And the talent manager who made his mortgage by gambling in Vegas. You see L.A. is one of the few places where your backstory does not matter. Where you went to college, even if you went to college…no one cares. Everybody flies by their wits. They spice up their looks, go out on the town and lay layers of b.s. on everybody, hoping that something will stick, that they’ll make a connection and end up with a development deal or…

And I mention all this because there’s a good chance this is not who you are. You jumped through the hoops, you went to college, you have a respectable job, you’re not DESPERATE! That’s what lies beneath the shiny surface, this con has got to work. And I say all this because I can’t relate to these money-grubbing women abusing and ripping off Sumner, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, alienating him from his family in the process, not even telling him his mishpucha called.

And that’s a question in the book. Does the apple not fall far from the tree, does Shari Redstone have Sumner’s DNA, or…

So Sumner bought Viacom, built an entertainment empire essentially from scratch. He wasn’t about getting along, he was about winning. And at the top tier of entertainment… One thing you’ll learn if you have access is these people are very very smart. Maybe not educated, but extremely intelligent, and certainly street smart, because you can’t get anywhere near this rarefied atmosphere unless you are. And Sumner, an Ivy League graduate with a law degree, is brilliant. As for said law degree… He sues people on a regular basis. You might freak out if sued, but the heavy players, those with deep pockets, use lawsuits as a chisel, they want to see what you’re made of, whether you can rise to the occasion. And, of course, they want to win.

But Sumner becomes incapacitated. Delusional. He truly believed he was going to live forever, that the rules of nature didn’t apply to him, but they did. And Shari takes over the empire and…

The guys won’t listen to her. It’s an old boys’ network. So offensive… This is what women are up against. It’s not about what is good for the corporation, but what is good for one’s relationships. Not that women are always better, the live-in girlfriends hire a female attorney who caters to their wishes when it’s obvious they’re ripping off Sumner.

But, Shari’s always asking questions, wondering about the future, and…

The CBS board doesn’t want to hear about the future. Furthermore, they’re paranoid. They blame every bad event on Shari, believing she’s going behind their back. And it’s all about loyalty. You need your votes. And to break this loyalty is nearly impossible.

That’s CBS, at Viacom…

Philippe Dauman, Sumner’s surrogate son, takes over and runs the company into the ground. He’s got no business plan, other than buying back stock. As for the creative touch? Zippo. this is what Wall Street doesn’t understand about entertainment. It can’t be boiled down to zeros and ones. It’s amorphous. Which the Street does not like. But then they see these high-flying executives and the returns, and they want in on the action. Believe me, there’s nothing sexy about being a banker. Even Lloyd Blankfein. Or the heads of Apollo. They might be rich, but they’re not hot, they don’t have the country hanging on to their every word, everybody does not want to sleep with them, so they sidle up to entertainment, hoping some of the shine will rub off on them.

To run an entertainment business you have to know talent, you have to know creative, and if you don’t… Top talent will not work with you. They want someone they can relate to, who understands them, who coddles them. Moonves wasn’t even involved on the financial side, he was all about the shows…after all, the shows are what make the money. Dauman is in charge of the fading MTV, and what does he do? Nothing. There’s an asset that he’s allowing to go down to zero. Shari wants to get rid of him, but Dauman doesn’t want to go.

And there’s so much money involved. Moonves made $700 million running CBS. Not as much as the bankers, but that’s plenty. He didn’t start the company, he didn’t own the company, that’s quite a level of compensation.

But Moonves is still susceptible to the machinations of a down on his luck talent manager, who represents someone Moonves took liberties with, to say the least. So Moonves takes his calls, responds to his texts… You’ve got to know, access is number one in entertainment, and very few have it, and those bragging usually know someone down the food chain. Moonves was on top. Yet he was beholden to this manager.

And everybody lies. Or doesn’t answer. Especially Moonves. Nothing happened. Then it was consensual, and then…

“Unscripted” will tell you how business really works.

It will also tell you that money is not enough for these titans, they belive they’re entitled to sex, and oftentimes cross the line to get satisfied. Like the woman who came in and gave Moonves head on a regular basis.

You won’t learn how the business really works reading the trades, reading the words of some outsider trying to make a living by giving you advice, but they get right down to the real nitty-gritty in “Unscripted.”

And in many ways, it’s despicable.

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