Who Is Succession Based On: Is The Roy Family Based On The Hearsts?

The story picks up where an explosive season two finale—in which Kendall Roy publicly criticized his father, Logan, as “a malignant presence, a bully, and a liar”—left off when Succession returns for its third season on October 17. And in preparation for the upcoming season, T&C is examining a variety of individuals who might have served as inspiration for the wealthy Roy family.

Jesse Armstrong, the Succession creator, executive producer, and showrunner, revealed that the characters are a fictional family before the HBO series’ debut. He told Variety in 2018 that there were “a ton of succession scenarios to draw from.”

“We wanted to draw on all the good, rich succession, media, and high politics stories there are,” the author said. But that comparison is inevitable because Armstrong wrote a screenplay about the inner workings of the Murdoch family a few years ago, but it was never made. However, there are undoubtedly a few other notable families that the series that could have drawn inspiration. Here is a list of possible Roys in real life.


The Murdochs

The patriarch of both families is old and has continued to work for his company much past the typical retirement age (Murdoch, 90, took over as chairman of Fox News again after the late Roger Ailes was fired and currently serves as the head of Fox Corporation).

James Murdoch, 48, served as the CEO of 21st Century Fox from 2015 to 2019, and his 50-year-old brother Lachlan is the executive chairman of Nova Entertainment, co-chairman of News Corp, and executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation. The three are shown here together in 2016. Elisabeth and Prudence, their older sisters, are media executives in the UK and Australia, respectively.

Who Is Succession Based On

Although the Roy family was seen traveling in a fleet of helicopters in the first episode of Succession, it is unclear whether they are as wealthy as the Murdochs, whose fortune is estimated to be worth $23.5 billion.

The Sulzbergers

Since this family has dealt with succession planning over the years, Arthur “A.G.” Sulzberger (left), 41, is the fourth Arthur Sulzberger to hold the role of publisher of the New York Times. Logan Roy had a storyline in Season 2 of Succession that involved buying a media company that the Pierce family owned.

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The Pierces have certain similarities to the family that has controlled the Times since 1896, as noted by Vanity Fair.

Differences: Logan Roy is more than a decade older than A.G.’s father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., who resigned from his position as publisher in 2018 at the age of 66.

The Redstones

The Redstones are in charge of a media conglomerate, like the Roys. The family has purportedly held control of Viacom and CBS for many years through their holding company, National Amusements.

Family members have also been involved in some actual succession drama: Shari Redstone, the 67-year-old daughter of the late patriarch Sumner, sued CBS in 2018 alleging that the business had improperly tried to remove her as the company’s leader. Shari is now chairman of ViacomCBS and president of National Amusements.

The Hearsts

The five sons of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst all joined the family company. (He is shown on the left in the 1908 photo with his young son William Jr.

Differences: On March 4, 1887, William Randolph Hearst changed the masthead of the San Francisco Examiner to include his name, establishing the family-owned Hearst corporation, which today owns more than 360 companies (including Town & Country). Three generations have run the business, and William Randolph Hearst III, his grandson, is currently chairman.

The Maxwells

Robert Maxwell, a British publisher who founded the New York Daily News as part of his newspaper empire, was shown here in 1985 with a young Prince William and Prince Charles. Like the Roys, the patriarch’s sons, Ian and Kevin Maxwell, also worked for the family business. Before she met the late dishonored billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Robert’s daughter Ghislaine also worked for the family magazines. Currently awaiting trial for sex trafficking and perjury is Ghislaine Maxwell.

Differences: The family business collapsed after Maxwell’s unexplained death on a yacht in the Canary Islands in 1991, and the corporation sought bankruptcy protection the following year.

The Carnegies

Similarities: According to Logan Roy’s actor, Brian Cox, the role was influenced by businessman Andrew Carnegie (left). “At the age of 12, this 12-year-old boy who had nothing was sent from Dunfermline to Pittsburgh. He rose to become the richest guy on earth. But concurrently, he also changed into this demonic being “In 2019, Cox spoke to the Financial Times.

“He was a philanthropist who constructed these Scottish libraries while underpaying his employees to maintain the libraries. He wanted to donate his money, but he was unable to change who he was.” Roy is described by Cox as being “a misanthrope,” “a nihilist,” and someone who is “disappointed with the human experiment,” all of which cause him to feel uneasy.

Differences: Unlike Roy, Andrew Carnegie did not have a large number of kids ready to take over his business. Margaret Carnegie Miller, Andrew Carnegie’s lone child, worked as a trustee for the 1911-founded Carnegie Corporation of New York, which made grants. Age 93 saw her pass away in 1990.

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