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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Freston’

Former Afghanistan Resident Tom Freston Set for Huffington Post Chat

The fact that entertainment media exec Tom Freston (pictured) lived in Kabul right up to Afghanistan’s 1978 coup is lesser known than his leadership of MTV, Viacom, and the ONE Campaign. But that textile and clothing company background is the reason he is moderating a panel discussion this afternoon at the Bel Air Country Club.

Titled “Peace and War in Afghanistan: What’s really going on and the impact of media on a new Afghanistan?”, the 4:30-to-6 p.m. event is a joint presentation of the Asia Society Southern California, the Huffington Post, UCLA’s Asia Institute, and the Paley Media Center. Joining Freston will be NBC chief foreign correspondent Robert Engel and MOBY Media chairman Saad Mohseni.

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Charlie Rose, Bonnie Fuller And The Ex-Mr. Star Jones

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We’re a bit spoiled by the back-to-back A-list sightings of the last two weeks (Cate Blanchett! Blake Lively!), so today we had to content ourselves with wondering what the media mavens we haven’t seen in the dining room in ages (Bonnie Fuller) were up to over their Cobb Salads.

Well, at least things were pretty lively at my table. I was joined by Dr. Phillip Romero who I was introduced to in this very dining room by our mutual friend, Cablevision’s Barry Frey. I couldn’t wait to get the good doctor’s take on Charlie Sheen and the ongoing media freak show that shows no sign of slowing down. Phil told me he agreed with Celebrity Rehab’s Dr. Drew Pinsky‘s diagnosis that Sheen is bipolar. Based on his exhibiting symptoms of “hypomania, grandiosity and hyper sexualization,” says Phil, “That’s clearly what’s going on.”

Phil, who has been counseling individuals and families in crisis for over 25 years and recently published two books, The Art Imperative and Phantom Stress , is “disgusted” by the media’s apparent glee at milking their latest cash cow until it dries up — or dies. ”I am appalled at the media’s vampirizing of mental illness.” One of the worst offenders thus far, says Phil, has been Piers Morgan who, he observes, was encouraging Sheen’s inexplicable behavior during the fallen star’s appearance on the CNN show. “Morgan was clearly enabling Charlie Sheen during his interview and seemingly happy to do so. It made me very uncomfortable. Where are the people that could help this man? If Charlie keeps up at this pace without the help he needs he could become psychotic and harm himself or others.”  Another ratings bonanza in the making.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Most of the Imber Gang, including Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Jeff Greenfield.

2. Abernathy & MacGregor’s Jim Abernathy

3. Producer Francine LeFrak and two well-heeled gal pals.

4. Charlie Rose and a limping Tom Freston.
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Lunch: Tom Brokaw, Charlie Rose, and John Sykes Stop By

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The mood may have been a little low-key today at Michael’s, but we spotted plenty of power players dining and dishing about their next big moves. I was intrigued to see former MTV colleagues John Sykes (now Playlist’s CEO) and Tom Freston chatting over lunch. Turns out the guys are both on (Product) Red’s board and are very enthusiastic about HBO’s upcoming documentary The Lazarus Effect which chronicles the effort being undertaken by the Global Fund to bring lifesaving drugs to Africans with AIDS.

“The title comes from the Bible and it’s truly amazing to see the results they have been getting,” John told me. The idea that marketing T-shirts and sunglasses can have a life-changing effect on dying patients with little hope of survival is truly news worth passing on. John also tells me that HBO is going to work with other companies like Playlist to make sure as many people as possible see the film.

I was joined today by Lisa Linden, CEO of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan Public Relations. Besides repping some of the biggest names in New York, Linda is a vice chair of The New York League of Conservation Voters and is working like mad on their upcoming spring gala. The big event is scheduled for May 17 and plenty of Gotham’s power players will be making an appearance. Mayor Michael Bloomberg will give the keynote, and this year’s honorees are: Julie Menin, chairman of Manhattan Community Board 1; Frank Sciame of F.J. Sciame Construction; eco-organizer Billy Parish, who co-founded Warner Music Group’s Green Owl Records, a green music label; and New York University. Comedian Mo Rocca is sure to keep things lively as the evening’s emcee. We’re calling for tickets now.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Charlie Rose (in pinstripes and white Jack Purcells) and an elegantly attired lady no one seemed to know.

2. Luke Janklow and another casually clad gent. Second seating: HBO’s Richard Plepler and pals

3. Men’s Health honcho David Zinczenko (long time, no see!) with attorney Larry Shire and Eric Saks

4. Tom Brokaw (who slipped in before anyone noticed) and Morris Offit

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The Secret to Sun Valley: “Many of the People We’re Doing Deals With Are Here”

SV2008v.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

Sony chairman Sir Howard Stringer and his right-hand man, CFO Rob Wiesenthal were scurrying about the Sun Valley meeting hall early Wednesday.

“We’re making progress with our Blu Ray and DVD deals,” Stringer said. “Our PlayStation Network people are here.”

Stringer_7.9.jpgStringer said he uses Sun Valley to forge ahead with meetings that Sony has underway. “Many of the people we’re doing deals with are here,” he said. “They’re all in one place and accessible.”

Wiesenthal added: “We actually get a lot of work done here. We don’t have any kids.”

But more to the point, Stringer had a request of Wiesenthal as he entered the business center.

“Do they have a USA Today?” Wiesenthal emerged with a USA Today and a Wall Street Journal.

“I don’t need that one,” Stringer said and he handed the Journal off to a nearby journalist.

A few minutes later, former Viacom exec Tom Freston and his wife ran into Susie Buffett, Warren Buffett‘s daughter who runs the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after her mother who passed away in 2004.

Freston was eager to tell Buffett about a trip he’s taking to Rwanda next week.

The elder Buffett, meanwhile, was avoiding reporters as he traipsed about the meeting hall. “I’m ducking out on interviews right now,” he told the Financial Times reporter as he breathlessly walked back into the business center.

Cooking Up Media Deals With Rachael Ray, and a Murdoch Scion Sighting

SV2008w.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

Ken Lowe, President and CEO of the Scripps company (formerly Scripps Howard) was morose at the bar in Sun Valley Lodge late last night. He was lamenting the foreboding loss of the printed written word in media. What better than to complain about the internet to a half-drunk blogger.

Lowe was keen however on discussing the mega-investment Scripps has in chef extraordinaire and rising media starlet Rachael Ray, who ironically was at the other end of the bar drinking up the joint with her agent, William Morris’s Jim Wiatt.

Wiatt had just left a table with deposed Viacom exec Tom Freston (who is here with a company called Firefly 3).

Luckily for the bar hoppers, Viacom chief Sumner Redstone was nowhere to be seen, otherwise fisticuffs at dawn.

In another corner Rupert Murdoch‘s kid James, former head of Sky TV, was mingling with journos, one of whom came back to our group explaining how young Murdoch had been roommates in college with Post managing editor Jesse Angelo. So the Post has a nice in with young Murdoch.

Forget that dad owns the paper.

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Strange Bedfellows in Sun Valley

SV2008b.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

As Hollywood mavens drifted into Sun Valley, a few were eager to talk.

Universal Studios COO and President Ron Meyer, asked whether Hollywood was making too many movies, said: “I’m part of that Hollywood, so I’d be criticizing myself.”

RMeyer_7.8.jpgMeyer, a regular at Sun Valley, said he’s just staying for a couple of days this time. While holding court before about a dozen reporters and photographers, Meyer smiled when CAA agents Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett complained that he was blocking there way as they exited the Sun Valley Lodge driveway.

“Ronnie, get out of the way,” Lourd yelled.

Asked for a comment himself, Lourd said: “Why would you ever want to talk to me? There are much more important people here.”

Lourd is one of a handful of Hollywood agents, including William Morris Agency’s Jim Wiatt, United Talent Agency’s Jim Berkus and ICM agent Jeff Berg.

Wiatt was the first to introduce former Viacom chief Tom Freston to the assembled media. “We rode in on the plane together,” Wiatt said.

• In the strange bedfellows department, the New York Times and the New York Post, always bitter enemies in the news arena, ended up splitting the cost of a Sun Valley Lodge suite for Times reporter Tim Arango and his girlfriend, Post photographer Victoria Will. The couple, who ironically met at Sun Valley four years ago, have been dating ever since.

LA Times on Jeremy Blake, Theresa Duncan

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Chris Lee’s LA Times story is dated August 3, which is tomorrow, right? But he’s got tons of great information–some of which hasn’t been reported elsewhere.

In anticipation of a lawsuit (which he never filed) Jeremy Blake prepared a history of the couple’s alleged harrassment, naming Tom Cruise,Miranda July, Paul Thomas Anderson, former Viacom Chief Executive Tom Freston, Beck and Art Forum Editor Tim Griffin, and a number of Hollywood talent agents and major league art collectors were accused of being in on the conspiracy.

Sun Valley Media Mogul Report

Ron Mwangaguhunga reports:

It’s July, so that means that the chattering class big guns are out and about in Sun Valley, Idaho, at investment banker Herb Allen‘s mogul retreat for a little “deep think” interspersed with rounds of golf. There is always, lurking in the green, the possible dramatic tension of the merger-subplot-scenario. Heather Godchild, chief media analyst at Standard and Poor’s credit rating service, told the Seattle Times: “Bucolic it may be, but this is a chessboard. You’ve got major, major players there thinking through some big questions.”

Much of the reporting coming out of Sun Valley appears to revolve around four themes:

  • 1. Rupert Murdoch Watching, which is a form of media-driven spectator sport involving the parsing of Mr. Murdoch’s every utterance for a cue as to when — or if — there will be a satisfying resolution to the $60-a-share deal for Dow Jones
  • 2. What is the future of media distribution?
  • 3. What will be the effect of private equity on the media entertainment industry?
  • 4. No one can get enough of Facebook, which most recently has been featured in both Time and Howie Kurtz‘s Reliable Sources last Sunday.

    The runner-up?

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  • Agreement Fizzles, Viacom Threatens Legal Action Against YouTube

    We all knew $1.65 billion would buy someone’s ire

    Viacom is demanding YouTube and Google to pull over 100,000 clips of its content — which it estimates as “$1.2 billion video streams on YouTube” — after trying for months to come to an agreement, stating that YouTube is unwilling to “come to a fair market agreement.”

    This is the second time the media giant has butted heads with YouTube since its sale to Google last year. As you’ll recall, Viacom demanded the ‘Tube pull clips of over five minutes in length of Comedy Central shows like the Daily Show and Colbert Report — which, beyond cat videos and goofy politicians, represent YouTube’s bread-and-butter and the best free advertising the network will ever get.

    Why protest now? One reason could be that, oh, Sumner Redstone is still bitter for his brass’ fumbling of the YouTube sweepstakes [see: Tom Freston]. Another: That finding a Daily Show clip on YouTube is infinitely easier than Comedy Central’s clunky Motherload video player.

    EARLIER:

  • YouTube Pulling Comedy Central Clips? Not Necessarily
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