This Wednesday, “Succession” returns to Starz with a bold season premiere. After a few weeks off, the series returned to television ready to put up the target on the head of its crazed siblings.
The head of Logan, Adelphi, and his dudes form a “Sunset Leadership Council” that will operate when Bruce balks at Joe’s restructuring. And it sounds a little bit like a Kim Kardashian/Kanye West nesting ceremony: the stakes are so high, pretty much anything can happen. Here’s where it stands now: Logan has an extensive reputation for bitterness, plus that Goldie auctioning off the Silverpenny facility (where the family has been mining for gold for years) stings. Logan won’t stop until he controls every part of the empire and nobody can stop him.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s rewind a little bit. Jack Taggart is now Rupert Murdoch’s general counsel, and things are literally going to hell at News Corp. The takeover proposal by Sirius XM was nixed by the founders (the eccentric Mendelson and Bartz who obviously failed math). Then the News Corp. board agreed to Sirius XM’s terms, but the Murdochs and Stan fell out. The new board split the business in half, appoints new executives, and secretly creates a committee to negotiate the new terms with Sirius XM.
When Howard departed for college, the News Corp. was in great shape, even more so than before the split. Rupert bought the New York Post, more journalists were hired, and Fox TV was considered a total cash cow. News Corp. paid billions for MySpace, and when Murdoch realized that the Yahoo! deal was awful and that keeping MySpace alive would be tough, he sold MySpace to Facebook.
If that all sounds like an epic downward spiral, you would be right. Ken recommends hiring Washingtonian staff writer Peter Hetherington to investigate. He and his team do some digging, and he discovers that the deal may not have been so bad for News Corp. After a phone call from his editor, Murdoch confirms that the board of directors did indeed try to save MySpace, but they could not negotiate a better deal than one from Facebook. Murdoch tells his son James that “News Corp was not a good investment” and that he should split News Corp. and Time Warner. Both companies do what News Corp. had been expecting, sell their divisions, and News Corp. cashes out.
The loss of MySpace, the news of big bonuses to the News Corp. executives, the board’s agreement to separate in a few years, and the fabulous compensation packages meant they all “regret the terms of the proposed merger.”
My point here is that Rupert Murdoch, for all of his money and power, needs talent. He needs people, he needs people who know how to make deals. He needs people who know what they are doing, because their companies in no way look like a good investment. News Corp., even with all its worth, was not worth the time or effort it took to buy MySpace.
Meanwhile, things are pretty bad for everyone else. It’s bad for Rupert, because he got cheated on and will lose whatever assets News Corp. had left for him. It’s bad for Jack (and his wife, Amber), who can’t compete with the Murdochs on the money game. It’s bad for everyone from the Mercers (Jude, who wanted to buy Stan out), to Leon, who is about to send his son Daniel to prison for reckless manslaughter, to Daniel, who doesn’t care about Daniel or Daniel’s wife.
So it’s pretty bad for everyone, and that’s basically what we’ll see for next couple of episodes. For starters, we see Leo deal with the legal repercussions of his deal with News Corp., and even more legal costs will be coming his way when he’s convicted of making money off the death of his half-brother Benjamin. (Add to that another $200 million, because the death of a loved one is always costly.) But the backstabbing is even worse than that, and most of the people that Leo chooses to help his nephew at any cost are liars. We also see that his sisters have problems too, and they are still lusting for their father’s attention.
There are some signs that maybe the tide is turning, but for the moment, it’s just a flow of petty grudges. “There’s still an undertow that