Sumner Redstone Uncensored: Murdoch Divorce, Brad Pitt's Exit, Succession Plans
The combative 90-year-old mogul sits down with THR at his home and expounds on whether CBS should buy Sony's studio, why Rupert Murdoch was right to divorce Wendi Deng, whether he's concerned about Pitt's departure for New Regency and why he hasn't named a successor: "I'm not gonna die."
There's been talk about CBS buying Sony's Columbia Pictures studio.
You have to ask Les about that. My view is that is pure nonsense. It doesn't make sense.
Because Viacom already has Paramount?
We have Paramount, and Les is making movies, but they're smaller movies. But some of them are very successful.
He should be happy with that, in other words?
Well, I'm not gonna tell him what to be happy with. I'm happy with what I'm happy with, Philippe is happy with what he's happy with, and Les is happy with what he's happy about.
Do you think all the studios will be around in 10 years?
How would I know? I'm not a seer or a psychic. I know we'll be around forever.
Do you think Viacom will ever be broken up?
A lot of people do.
They're entitled to their opinion. They want to be wrong; they can be wrong.
Did Philippe promise he wouldn't break it up?
Of course he wouldn't break up the company! He didn't have to promise!
Some businessmen, they don't necessarily have the love of the show.
He does; he has the love of the company, and I have a love of him.
Viacom once owned Blockbuster …
I don't want to talk about that now. We sold it. It's no more.
But that was an example of technology moving quickly, and it's moving faster now. Do you worry about the future of the industry?
I don't worry about the future. I try to form the future.
For instance, this is a challenging time for the broadcast business.
The broadcast business will always be here. The broadcast business is here forever. They broadcast what people want to see all over the world!
Well, you once said that about Blockbuster.
On occasion, you make a mistake. But I don't want to make too many.
What time do you get up in the morning?
Five. Sometimes 4:30. I walk, bike and swim every day.
And you go out sometimes? You're a man on the town.
I wouldn't call me that, but I do on occasion.
You've got these beautiful women that you go out with.
Do you think they're beautiful?
They're both stunning.
You really think so?
And sweet, don't you think?
Well, they're sweet. I don't know how beautiful they are.
Whom do you consider your friends?
Philippe and Les, of course. Others: Jon Voight, Tom Dooley, Tom Cruise, a lot of people. Arnold Kopelson and Anne, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, they're all my friends. Brad Grey, Brian Grazer. Netanyahu. He's been to my house twice. Tony Bennett is a good friend. He credits me with saving his career. I put him on MTV when everyone said he was over. And he was a hit. I remade his life.
Did you have to tell MTV to put him on?
I made the decision. Everyone thought he was over the hill. I said people still like that kind of music. I do. And I put it on MTV, and his career began all over again.
You kicked Tom Cruise out of Paramount, but you made up. What's your relationship now?
I fired him, and I hired him. When he deserved to be fired, I fired him. When he deserved to be hired, I hired him.
What made him deserve to be hired again?
He's a great actor. The next Mission: Impossible will be the best one. He told me about the script. He's a good friend.
Paramount at one point was trying to transition the franchise to Jeremy Renner. Did you end that when you made up with Tom?
I met with [Tom], and he said he wanted to work for Paramount. I said the deal would be different. He said, "I don't care, I want to come back to Paramount," and I brought him back.
The movie business is kind of bad now, right?
No, I wouldn't say that. The margins aren't so good, but the pictures are great. The movies that we make are great.
What's the biggest risk you've taken?
Maybe buying Viacom. I know I didn't take a risk when I insisted on keeping MTV and Nickelodeon. Everyone wanted me to sell them. I followed my own instincts. I knew MTV was more than a media channel; it was a generational channel.