Power Comeback: Barry Diller
Who: Barry Diller, 55, the fiery ex-Fox network architect who became the cubic zirconia king after buying into the shopping network craze
Power deal: A $4 billion shopping spree for most of Seagram/Universal’s TV holdings
The spoils: Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. gets a seat on Diller’s Home Shopping Network Inc. board and a 45 percent stake in the soon-to-be-named USA Networks Inc. Diller gets his hands on cable networks USA and Sci-Fi Channel (which Seagram had taken control of only a few weeks ago) and a seat on the Seagram board.
The real perks: Synergy with Universal and USA shows — think Hercules mugs and Pacific Blue bikes hawked on HSN
What makes it killer-Diller: Thwarted in his efforts to buy Paramount and CBS a few years back, Diller’s got a new opportunity to launch another network.
Three cheers for Seagram: Giving Diller the keys to Universal’s TV division is like getting Mario Andretti to drive your Dodge; both Seagram and HSN Inc. stock jumped on news of the partnership.
Who should be worried: All the Homer Simpsons at Universal TV and the USA Networks — Mr. Burns is supposedly loosely based on Diller. Doh!