James B. Stewart

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In 2016, the fate of Paramount Global’s entertainment empire 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, which placed Sumner’s deteriorating health and questionable judgment under a harsh light.

As an all-powerful media mogul, Sumner had been a demanding boss, and an even more demanding father. When his daughter, Shari, took control of the business, she faced the hostility of boards who for years had heard Sumner disparage her. Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, schemed with his allies on the board to strip Shari of power. But while he publicly battled Shari, news began to leak of Moonves’s involvement in multiple instances of sexual misconduct, and he began working behind the scenes to try to make the stories disappear.

Unscripted is an explosive and unvarnished look at the usually secret inner workings of two public companies, their boards of directors, and a wealthy, dysfunctional family in the throes of seismic changes. From the Pulitzer Prize– winning journalists James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams, Unscripted lays bare the battle for power at any price—and the carnage that ensued.