Redstone Still Covets CNN


Viacom/CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone still sees CNN as an ideal acquisition target to bolster his news operation.

Speaking at the Museum of Television & Radio Tuesday night in Beverly Hills, Redstone made an open plea to the audience to facilitate a deal with Time Warner chief Dick Parsons. “Call Dick, tell him I want to buy CNN,” Redstone said.  “Because CNN and CBS would be fantastic.”

But while Redstone talked about previous unsuccessful discussions, in which Parsons was more interested in a joint venture, he seemed more impressed with the state of Fox News Channel.

“They may be biased, but they are dynamic and charismatic, and the result is they are doing better than CNN,” Redstone said.  “They are doing great because of showmanship.”

Redstone also spoke of the need for networks to evolve the news business, including that of his own CBS President and CEO Les Moonves.

“The news business has been going down for the networks, and they are all trying to find new formats that will get younger people,” he said. “That is certainly what Les is going to be doing.”