‘Succession’s’ Family Business Drama Hits Close to Home for Some Fans

‘Succession’s’ Family Business Drama Hits Close to Home for Some Fans

By John JurgensenNov. 5, 2021 9:50 am ET

In the HBO hit “Succession,” 80-something billionaire Logan Roy refuses to yield control of his global media conglomerate to anyone, including his four adult children, who maneuver for their father’s favor and for pecking order in his company.

The chief executive of a cheesecake dynasty can relate. Alan Rosen of Junior’s Restaurants and Bakery represents the third generation of his family to run the company started in 1950 in Brooklyn, N.Y. It still pains him to remember the time he says his father, Walter, grabbed his neck and punched his face during an argument over “business and transition and respect.”

It happened in the 1990s, says Mr. Rosen, now 52 years old. He and one of his two older brothers, armed with college degrees, had urged their late father and their uncle to expand beyond a single restaurant by leveraging demand for its signature dessert. The elder Rosens resisted.

“They said, ‘If someone wants a cheesecake, they’re going to come to Brooklyn to get it,’ ” Mr. Rosen recalls.

“Succession,” now nearly halfway through its third season, has won an Emmy for best drama series and earned an obsessive fan base, especially on social media and among members of the media industry that the series skewers. The show’s writers have said they’ve drawn inspiration in part from real-life dynasties such as the Redstones, who own the company that controls ViacomCBS Inc., and the Murdochs, who are major shareholders in the parent company of The Wall Street Journal.

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Harvey Yan

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