“After CBS boss Les Moonves’ sensational September downfall on sexual-assault allegations, insiders said the TV giant’s board could announce a merger with Viacom in the next three to six months — a deal that Moonves had fiercely resisted,” reports Alexandra Steigrad for The New York Post.
Said one media executive with knowledge of what’s going on, “I would be surprised if we are sitting around in March and CBS and Viacom are not combined,” the Post reports.
As for who might become the CEO of a re-combined CBS/Viacom, Steigrad floats the name of Strauss Zelnick, who is currently the interim chairman of the CBS board of directors.
Of Zelnick she writes, “The 61-year-old fitness freak, who has been chief executive of Take-Two for the past decade, now looks like a leading candidate to lead CBS and Viacom once they’re combined — possibly as their CEO, according to sources. That’s despite a hunt to replace Moonves that’s being run by executive-search firm Korn Ferry and is including candidates as diverse as ex-Disney exec Tom Staggs, former CBS exec Nina Tassler and HBO boss Richard Plepler, sources said.”
Furthermore, in one scenario, Steigrad has Take-Two, CBS and Viacom all merging into one huge media conglomerate, with Zelnick as CEO. Among other games, Take-Two owns the hugely successful “Grand Theft Auto” franchise.
Early in his career Zelnick ran the 20th Century Fox movie studio, the Post notes.
The story also says that “Reps for CBS and Viacom declined to comment, as did Zelnick and a rep for Redstone.” Redstone is Shari Redstone, the media heiress to National Amusements, the company that controls both CBS and Viacom.