The Morristown Festival of Books was thrilled to welcome acclaimed authors James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams as our 2023 Keynote Speakers in an on-stage conversation with Brian Stelter, former CNN correspondent, on October 6, 2023.
Stewart and Abrams discussed their jaw-dropping New York Times bestseller, Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy, hailed as the true-life Succession story of our time.
Unscripted is the shocking inside story of the struggle for power and control at Paramount Global, the multibillion-dollar entertainment empire controlled by the Redstone family, and the dysfunction, misconduct, and deceit that threatened the future of the company, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists who first broke the news.
In 2016, the fate of Paramount Global—an empire that included Paramount, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime, and Simon & Schuster—hung precariously in the balance. Its founder and head, ninety-three-year-old Sumner M. Redstone, was facing a very public lawsuit brought by a former romantic companion—a lawsuit that placed Sumner’s deteriorating health and questionable judgment under a harsh light.
Shari Redstone, Sumner’s daughter, seemed to be her father’s heir apparent, but as Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalists James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams explore in their explosive new book and instant New York Times bestseller, Unscripted, Shari was dropped into a shark tank of male Hollywood executives, with hostile back-room machinations that put her at odds not only with her father but a cast of rivals, schemers, and hangers-on.
The secret inner workings of public companies and their boards usually stay secret, but Stewart and Abrams deliver in Unscripted an unvarnished look at a wealthy, dysfunctional family in the throes of seismic change, and the downfall of a once-victorious multibillion-dollar entertainment empire in the wake of greed, sexual exploitation, and corporate malfeasance.
James B. Stewart is the author of ten books, including the New York Times bestsellers Deep State, Tangled Webs, and the blockbuster Den of Thieves. He is currently a columnist for the New York Times and a professor of business journalism at Columbia University. In 1988, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading.
Rachel Abrams is a reporter and senior producer for the television documentary series The New York Times Presents. Prior to that, she was part of the reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018 for reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations.
Brian Stelter is the New York Times bestselling author of three books: Top of the Morning, Hoax, and Network of Lies. Previously, Stelter was a media reporter at the New York Times and the anchor of CNN’s Reliable Sources. He is currently a special correspondent for Vanity Fair.
Wendy Supron, Chair
Caroline Kincaid Godfrey
Pat Kennedy Grant
Diane Naughton Washburne
Linda Hellstrom, Founder
Wendy Supron, Chair