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HBO's New Show Succession Asks if There Is Ever a Good Time to Let the Kids Take Over

The drama charts the family feuds of the one percent.
IMAGE CRAIG BLANKENHORN/HBO
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While truth can be stranger than fiction, it’s rarely more fun. So although Succession, the smart new TV series created by Jesse Armstrong (a writer for Veep and In the Loop), which premieres this Sunday, June 3 on HBO, takes its cues from the real-life dynasties that run global business behemoths, the over-the-top family it depicts isn’t fenced in by facts.


Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in Succession

At the start of the series, the Roy clan is controlled by its media mogul patriarch, Logan (played by Brian Cox). But as he prepares to step away from the business, and the question is raised of which of his bright, conniving offspring will step into his John Lobb oxfords, a breakneck race for influence begins.

Viewers can be forgiven for thinking this story sounds familiar. “I was reading about Sumner Redstone, and when he was asked about his succession plans he said, ‘I’ve got no plans to die,’” Armstrong says. “That struck me, because Rupert Murdoch had made a similar joke. So I saw the show as being about the incredible power of these figures, a power that is changing.”


Jeremy Strong in Succession

This topic is consuming many people these days. Institutions from Viacom to the White House are grappling with what it means to groom your children to succeed you—and what happens when they aren’t up to the task. But despite the potential for real-world inspiration, Armstrong says that often the way actual successions play out can be too complicated for TV. “There are families that have some similarities with the Roys,” he says, “but there is a level of reality at which you just can’t compete.”

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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