The elderly media mogul and the bisexual rockers

Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:14am EDT
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By Kim Masters

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - An MTV reality show about an aspiring raunchy girl band remains in development despite an embarrassing controversy last week involving its cheerleader, 87-year-old media mogul Sumner Redstone.

The show revolves around the bisexual young women in the Electric Barbarellas on their quest for fame and fortune. It comes from the production company behind MTV's "Laguna Beach."

Redstone, the chairman and controlling shareholder of MTV's Viacom parent, has been at the center of a media firestorm over his taped phone message demanding that reporter Peter Lauria of the Daily Beast reveal the source of his story about the billionaire's attempts to force reluctant MTV executives to create a show for the band.

In the message, Redstone offered to reward the reporter for disclosing the source, adding that Viacom management wouldn't "kill" the responsible party.

Redstone's control of Viacom remains unchallenged, but his conduct is not going unnoticed on Wall Street. Mystery persists around the disclosure that 29-year-old band member Heather Naylor sold $157,000 worth of Viacom stock in March. Since Viacom has been tight with option grants and has rules for awarding them, the revelation that Naylor possessed the stock raises questions about corporate governance.

A Viacom spokesman declined to comment on the stock issue. But the news has irked some company insiders." People are upset that (apparently) this woman just got options handed to her and cashed them in already," said one person with Viacom connections.

While declining to comment on the stock sale, a Redstone spokesman said the mogul now regrets having left the phone message that now has been heard around Hollywood. "It was Sumner being Sumner," the spokesman said. "People who know him know he's a seize-the-day kind of guy. He feels bad that he was impulsive in making that phone call."

That does not sync with the response several Redstone friends have observed. "He thinks everything's fine," said one. "He says, 'I just want the truth, and there's nothing wrong with finding out the truth.'"   Continued...