It's Not Quite Time To Retire Sumner Redstone

Los Angeles Times Hollywood writer Patrick Goldstein makes a compelling case this afternoon that Viacom and CBS shareholders may want to start thinking about voting out their cranky chairman.

As a central argument as to why, Goldstein points specifically to Sumner Redstone’s bizarre interview with Larry King at the Milken Conference.

“Redstone, as always, repeated his deluded claim that he doesn’t plan to die — which for stockholders of the troubled company must seem more like a threat than a promise. But surely the most embarrassing moment of the whole affair came when, during a Q&A session with the audience, Redstone asked several female questioners if they were married or not, as if he thought he might actually be on “The Dating Game.”

In many ways, Goldstein is absolutely right. From our (non-shareholder) point of view, however, we’d like to see Redstone kept around (if only because when he fired Tom Cruise a few years back, it was essentially just because he felt like).

But his eccentricities make him the most entertaining of the entertainment moguls. His performance with King was vintage.

He doesn’t know anything about Facebook and Twitter. So what? Even guys who know new media don’t make any money on new media, so maybe it’s better Sumner stays away. Plus can you imagine his status updates: “Sumner is Shaving Naked in His Pool.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean his companies won’t have the resources to attack when the time is right. He probably could’ve mistook Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert for one of his man-servants and it didn’t prevent them from becoming stars on his Comedy Central.
Things are just about to get really interesting. His personal fortune has been decimated, he has two CEOs that can be fired—even justifiably—at any point, and he’s at the vortex of the media revolution.

That’s a show we want to see.

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