The Real-World Drama That Influenced HBO’s ‘Succession’ DirectExpose
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The Real-World Drama That Influenced HBO’s ‘Succession’

Published on August 29, 2019


Succession has become another grand slam for cable network HBO. With a third season confirmed, the show is on its way to becoming a classic. As a satirical comedy, you can expect some influences from the real world. You’ll be shocked at what real situations landed on the show.

A Shareholder Meeting For The Ages

The episode “Which Side Are You On?” has Logan’s job in jeopardy via a vote of no confidence. One person that wanted to vote him out was his own son Roman. While the voting took place, however, Roman voted to keep his dad in charge. When Logan won the vote, he decided to fire everyone that voted against him.

The infamous 2004 Disney shareholder meeting inspired this scene. 43% of shareholders refused to re-elect Michael Eisner as CEO. Walt Disney’s nephew Roy and Stanley Gold resigned from Disney to show their disapproval. Eisner would lose his title after a 20-year run. Several board members who voted for Eisner’s removal were handpicked by him years before the incident. What’s more shocking is Gold used the same tactic to have former Disney CEO Ron W. Miller fired in 1984. Gold did this to bring Eisner into the company. “What happened with Disney was very pertinent to that [scene],” showrunner Jesse Armstrong told Vanity Fair.

Not A Fond Citizen

As the founder of Waystar Royco, Logan is one of the most hated people on the show. Actor Brian Cox got his inspiration from Citizen Kane. “He is not liked’ his family does not seem to like him though they worry when he gets ill. He’s very much alone and that’s interesting…There is a sadness about Logan in the fact he is alone,” Cox said at the TCA press tour. Citizen Kane is based on the real-life story of businessman William Randolph Hearst. Following hefty debt during the Great Depression, Hearst left the business to his kids.

All Eyes On Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch’s relationship with his kids is a major influence on the show. As a major media mogul, Murdoch is always looking to see which of his kids will take over the business. The show spawned from Armstrong’s 2010 film script about Murdoch. The plot revolved around the family gathering for Murdoch’s 78th birthday.

Actor Matthew Macfadyen tried downplaying the Murdoch comparisons. “In the States, there are plenty of single families that own a lot of media and own these enormous companies, which have an enormous influence. That’s a really interesting perspective, but as far as actually playing Tom and doing the show, we never think about the Murdochs or who we might be [inspired by] because it’s a fictional family — but of course, like with all fiction, you can find parallels and similarities everywhere,” Macfadyen said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Some members of the Murdoch family have watched the show. Cox ran into Elisabeth Murdoch’s husband Keith Tyson while hanging out in London. Tyson professed to love the show but stated Elisabeth has some issues with it. Rupert’s current wife Jerry Hall has admitted to being a huge fan of the series.

The Father/Daughter Battle

Siobhan, who is played by Sarah Snook, bears a striking resemblance to Shari Redstone. Shari’s father Sumner was a majority shareholder in Viacom and CBS. The two worked together until a dispute in 2007 tore them apart. During his first marriage, Sumner promised to make Shari chairman of CBS/Viacom-owned National Amusements. Unfortunately, Sumner wanted Shari to change her behavior before taking on a huge position. Threats of lawsuits erupted, but nothing came out of it. The two haven’t made up with each other since the blowout. In 2015, Sumner threatened to ban Shari from his funeral. Shari has since become the chairwoman of ViacomCBS.

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