An instant New York Times bestseller • Nominated for the Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year Award
"Addicted to Succession? Well, here's the real thing." - The Hollywood Reporter
“Jaw-dropping . . . an epic tale of toxic wealth and greed populated by connivers and manipulators.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice
The shocking inside story of the struggle for power and control at Paramount Global, the multibillion-dollar entertainment empire controlled by the Redstone family, and the dysfunction, misconduct, and deceit that threatened the future of the company, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists who first broke the news
In 2016, the fate of Paramount Global—the multibillion-dollar entertainment empire that includes Paramount, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime, and Simon & Schuster—hung precariously in the balance. Its founder and head, ninety-three-year-old Sumner M. Redstone, was facing a very public lawsuit brought by a former romantic companion, Manuela Herzer—a lawsuit that placed Sumner’s deteriorating health and questionable judgment under a harsh light.
As one of the last in a long line of all-powerful media moguls, Sumner had been a relentlessly demanding boss, and an even more demanding father. When his daughter, Shari, took control of her father’s business, she faced the hostility of boards and management who for years had heard Sumner disparage her. Les Moonves, the popular CEO of CBS, felt particularly threatened and schemed with his allies on the board to strip Shari of power. But while he publicly battled Shari, news began to leak that Moonves had been involved in multiple instances of sexual misconduct, and he began working behind the scenes to try to make the stories disappear.
Unscripted is an explosive and unvarnished look at the usually secret inner workings of two public companies, their boards of directors, and a wealthy, dysfunctional family in the throes of seismic changes, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams. Through the microcosm of Paramount, whose once victorious business model of cable fees and ticket sales is crumbling under the assault of technological advances, and whose workplace is undergoing radical change in the wake of #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and a distaste for the old guard, Stewart and Abrams lay bare the battle for power at any price—and the carnage that ensued.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Drawing on three years of reporting, authors James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams tell the story of the family behind media conglomerate ViacomCBS. At the center of the clan is Sumner Redstone, the patriarch known for his micromanaging, womanizing, and obsession with eternal life. Stewart and Abrams don’t spare any of the uncomfortable details (including the way Sumner endlessly manipulated his daughter as she constantly sought his approval), resulting in a biography that’s salacious and fascinating even as it exposes serious tales of corporate intrigue and scandal. Theater actor Robert Petkoff delivers the story with liveliness, authority, and a dash of tongue-in-cheek incredulity when the details get truly outlandish. A mesmerizing tale of money, family, and corporate greed, Unscripted is like a real-life version of Succession.
Every tv/media person should know this stuff
Not worth listening
Just went on forever and could’ve been done in 100 pages. If I hadn’t listen to it on an airplane ride, I’d want the time back.