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Marianne Paskowski

An Event Planner's Worst Nightmare

October 24, 2006 1:11 PM

Imagine the angst at the Center for Communications, which back in July announced that it would be roasting Tom Freston—who was then Viacom’s president and CEO—at an Oct. 25 lunch in New York bestowing its annual Frank Stanton Award.

But Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone threw a bit of monkey wrench into the plan by firing Freston right after Labor Day. “We couldn’t even try to sell tables for several weeks because we didn’t know if he [Freston] was going to accept the award,” says Catherine Williams who handled details for the lunch.

But tomorrow the roast will go on at the Pierre Hotel in New York. While it’s starting to look like an SRO affair, Williams assures there are still some seats left for the tune of $1,000 apiece.

And what does $1,000 get you besides a plateful of rubber chicken?

Well Comedy Central’s on-air wagster Stephen Colbert will be among the roasters, sharing the stage with Time Warner’s major-domo Jeff Bewkes and MTV President Judy McGrath, among other media luminaries.

Gee, given the cost of admission, Freston, who walked away from Viacom with nearly $80 million in severance and stock options, can afford to buy up those remaining seats for a few of his pals, don’t you think?


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