Redstone riffs at Bear Stearns conference

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NEW YORK -- Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. chairman Sumner Redstone on Wednesday called on the industry to avoid work stoppages by recognizing that labor deals must satisfy both sides.

"We must (make) sure this never happens again," he said Wednesday at the Bear Stearns 21st annual Media Conference in Florida. Redstone said his mantra for deals is that they must benefit both parties.

Asked if he thinks the recent WGA deal was fair, he signaled he does.

Asked about how the split of CBS and Viacom has worked out, Redstone said the two got all they were looking for. He even argued that "the other companies are following the leader," given that Time Warner, E.W. Scripps and other media firms have said they may split off certain businesses.

Meanwhile, in another sign of how brass at Viacom has been encouraging Steven Spielberg to stay in business with them beyond the current deal with DreamWorks SKG that is coming to an end, Redstone said he had lunch with the director a week ago. One key topic Spielberg discussed with him was "how to advance 3-D" in the movie industry.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has also said he talks to Spielberg regularly.

Concerning 3-D, Redstone said "the difference is astronomical."

The executive also said Wednesday he is comfortable with CBS's recent move into the film business and would even support CEO Leslie Moonves if he had bigger ambitions, which he hasn't voiced to date. "Les is free to build a big studio," Redstone said.

The Viacom and CBS boss also mentioned his daughter Shari, who had been considered his likely successor until a recent dispute. While he didn't discuss his current relationship with her, Redstone lauded her efforts at expanding the business of film exhibitor National Amusement.

"Shari is running Red Sox games in the theaters," book readings and more as it and other theater groups add new programming offerings, he said.
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