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1973 DePauw Alumnus James B. Stewart Publishes “Unscripted”

Unscripted by James B. Stewart book coverPulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart’s new book, “Unscripted” is receiving rave reviews. He and fellow New York Times journalist Rachel Abrams authored the book after first breaking the news. “Unscripted” details 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.

Stewart is a columnist for The New York Times and a longtime contributor to The New Yorker. He is a 1973 DePauw alumnus, member of the DePauw Board of Trustees and professor of business journalism at Columbia University. He is the author of 10 books and won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism.

About the book: 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. 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.

“Unscripted” is published by Penguin Random House and was reviewed by The New York Times.

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