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Mel Karmazin

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Sumner Redstone: How Crazy After All These Years?

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Just how nuts is Sumner Redstone? Clearly quite nuts, or at least quite senile. But there's also a chance he hasn't been quite as nuts, for quite as long, as today's Times suggest. Yes, yes: He's probably trying to oust his daughter and heir apparent, Shari, from their companies. And yes, yes: He summarily fired Tom Cruise last year and then ousted Tom Freston. But perhaps he hasn't always been quite this bad. Consider one of the best anecdotes in the Times story:
In 1999, at a news conference for Viacom’s purchase of CBS, Mr. Redstone interrupted Mel Karmazin, CBS’s chief executive, by blurting “I’m in control! Remember — I’m in control!” into a microphone. Despite being widely considered Mr. Redstone’s successor, Mr. Karmazin left the company in 2004.
We were amused, and intrigued, and wanted to find out what happened next in the press conference. So we went to trusty Nexis, where we discovered something interesting.

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