I am a big fan of the show Succession, an HBO Max drama about family media empire Waystar Royco, run by aging patriarch Logan Roy (played by Brian Cox with snarling intensity).
PR is well-integrated into almost every episode, amidst storylines about optics, crises, and public image-shaping.
This week’s show was perhaps the most pivotal out of the entire four season run. Let us say a very material event happened (ahem). Public companies, like the fictional Waystar Royco must promptly release news that is material to investors, meaning could move the stock price.
OK, I’ll come right out and say it (spoiler alert), because every other blog and podcast has shared the news. And because it is hinted in the title of the post, and the YouTube says it: Logan Roy dies in this episode.
This was jaw dropping, as he has been the gravitiational center of the show. Love him or hate him, Brian Cox is a scene stealer. Sure, it is a show about succession, so we all knew he’d go at some point. But this early in the final season?
He died on the company jet, well out of reach of the media and public’s eye. Part of the drama revolved around the mechanics of communicating this material news – who writes the press release, who speaks to the media?
The press statement became a political football as the players jockeyed for position. Very entertaining indeed, and good to see PR in the limelight.
If you enjoy Succession, and are interested in PR, and the tech and news businesses, I highly recommend Kara Swisher’s podcasts. She hosts the official Succession podcast, and cohosts The Pivot, where her, cohost Scott Galloway and guests often discuss these topics and the role of communications.