Here’s yet one more reason why rival Hollywood studios are salivating to use the newly branded Brad Grey Wimp Factor to get a leg up on Paramount with talent. Newsweek just ensured that Paramount boss Brad Grey has no deniability in the Viacom vs Cruise cock-up. “Critics saw it as evidence that Paramount chairman Brad Grey and his boss, Tom Freston, were powerless. Redstone says that’s false. ‘We were all in agreement about ending Tom Cruise’s production deal,’ Redstone tells Newsweek. ‘I have complete faith in Tom and Brad, and they are clearly running the business.’ Last Friday, Grey spoke directly about the matter to Newsweek: ‘Sumner is a maverick. He said what he felt, and that’s his prerogative. He certainly didn’t ask my permission, and I’m certain, knowing Sumner as I do, that he felt no obligation to. He built the place.” What I find most disturbing here is that Grey is so pussy-whipped that he couldn’t even get permission from Redstone to at least disagree about a public diss of a star who’s made $3 billion in box office gross for the studio. At best, Grey offered this weak kiss-ass. “I still admire Tom Cruise,” Brad told Newsweek. “He’s a huge movie star, and a great actor, and I’m sure we’ll work together in the future.’” So let’s analyze: Sumner says everyone agreed to dump Cruise’s production deal, including Brad; but Brad implies Sumner did it on his own. Talk about trying to play both sides against the middle, eh? And now Brad supposedly wants to work with Tiny Tom again? Grey even told Time that he “wouldn’t rule anything out” about a Mission Impossible 4. To which Cruise’s producing partner Paula Wagner laughingly told Newsweek, “If it’s the right script, why not? We created that franchise.” Hmm, this smacks of a Paramount peace offering in the form of a big fat commission to CAA. Note to Brad Grey: Next time you’re being bitch-slapped, don’t wait to give your side (as lame as it is) to the newsweeklies. That’s so dial-up.

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.

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