Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s plans
Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s plans -- The chief executive of Seagram and new owner of MCA is pursuing Frank Biondi Jr. for MCA's top spot
If Edgar Bronfman Jr. has his way, there will be one less unemployed media titan. Bronfman, chief executive of Seagram and new owner of MCA, is pursuing Frank Biondi Jr. for MCA’s top slot. The button-down Biondi, recently booted from the presidency of Viacom, is interested but must get his ex-boss, mercurial Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, to waive a noncompete clause in his exit package. While Biondi attends to those details, EW weighs the pros and cons of his making a Universal move.
Can’t screw up: With Universal Pictures ranked No. 4 last year in terms of market share and Universal TV too dependent on fading hour dramas, anything Biondi does to energize the snoozing media conglomerate will be an improvement.
Good second banana: Ron Meyer, the former CAA agent named president of MCA last year, won’t object to reporting to Biondi. At CAA, he happily tended to the clients, while Michael Ovitz directed corporate strategy — the same role Biondi could play at MCA.
Elbow rubbing with stars: Meyer has lured such onetime clients as Sly Stallone, Demi Moore, and Danny DeVito into the Universal stable.
No belt-tightening, no job hunting: As CEO, he should pull down a multimillion-dollar deal, with a large part of his compensation being Seagram stock options. It would also mean no competing with fellow unemployed moguls Michael Fuchs, formerly of Time Warner, and Michael Schulhof, formerly of Sony, for the next CEO opening.
Location, location: A move from snowbound New York to sunny Los Angeles. Bonus: Free Babe videos.
The green team: Meyer, who has no experience running a studio, has hired similarly inexperienced executives — like ex-trial attorney Howard Weitzman, now in charge of corporate operations.
Not cable ready: Biondi, who cut his teeth at HBO, won’t have a cable company to play with. Except for a half interest in the USA Network, MCA has no major cable — or network — connection.
Always a bridesmaid: At 51, Biondi is older than Bronfman, 40, so it’s unlikely he’ll succeed his boss.
Noisy neighbors: New MCA Music chairman Doug Morris wants a half interest in Interscope Records, so Biondi will have to become versed in defenses of gangsta rap.
Location, location: He’ll have to leave New York, where he’s a celebrity suit, for L.A., where real celebs will dismiss him as just another suit.