Will Les Moonves take nuclear option against Sumner Redstone

It’s pretty clear to me that CBS chief Les Moonves will not survive August in his position.

Moonves is facing 6 women all alleging they were the victims of sexual harassment or worse. The board of directors has hired an outside law firm to investigate the charges and to report back as soon as possible.

So where does this put the lawsuit between CBS and Viacom. Moonves has been fighting Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari over a proposed merger between the two. The Redstones are majority shareholders in both companies through the ownership of a firm called National Amusements.

The rumor is that the Redstones — wanting to merge the two firms again, while Moonves fought them at each step in the process — were behind the outing of dirt on the CBS chief to thwart the lawsuit.

Moonves for his part does not have a strong C-Suite bench at CBS — whether by design or not — so the board is sticking with him for the time being.

Before Labor Day, Moonves will be out at CBS and the lawsuit over the proposed merger will be dropped. So who benefits from the leaking of the sexual harassment charges?

The wild card in this whole affair is Nickelodeon. As the Street hears it, the Mooves team may go on the offensive with allegations of wrong doing on the children’s network owned by the Redstones and some independent executive producers.

I would think this nuclear option would have to be deployed very soon if Moonves wants any chance of sticking around. Or is he is using it to negotiate a better exit package?

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