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The dramatic rise of media mogul Logan Roy and his scheming offspring might seem familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the business section of the newspaper in the last few decades, with the Roys frequently getting compared to several high-profile—and high-salaried—media families in the US and UK.
On October 17, HBO Max will begin streaming the third season of the Emmy-winning series, bringing the program back into the spotlight and placing its real-life inspirations under the microscope.
Here’s everything you need to know about what is Succession based on.
What is SUCCESSION based on?
Until the show’s premiere in June 2018, creator and showrunner Jesse Armstrong insisted that the Roys were entirely made up and were not based on any real-life media dynasty.
Instead, he said, they were inspired by a wide range of figures, including News Corp. tycoon Rupert Murdoch, Hearst eponym William Randolph Hearst, former President Donald Trump, and even Queen Elizabeth II.
Armstrong told Variety(opens in new tab) in 2018: “There are tonnes of succession stories to pull on. We wanted to draw on all the fantastic, exciting stories that are about Succession and about media and high politics.”
Executive producer Adam McKay added: “You’re looking at this dynastic, sort of congealed wealth. What thrilled me about Jesse’s writing is that it wasn’t about one family.
It’s more interesting in the impact of such dynastic authority on the outside world. What kind of impact does this have on loved ones?”
McKay noted that the media families were the most exciting and dramatic of these famous families, which included the royals and the Hollywood A-list.
Before working on Succession, Armstrong had written a screenplay about the Murdoch father and his four adult children. Still, the film was never greenlit, so the similarities between the fictitious Roys and the real-life Murdochs are not too surprising.
Like Murdoch, billionaire businessman Logan Roy owns a vast media empire called Waystar Royco, which includes everything from national newspapers to movie studios to theme parks to cruise ships.
As Roy moves into senior age, his four adult children get increasingly embroiled in the family business—and drama frequently occurs.
Brian Cox, who plays Logan Roy, has stated unequivocally that he does not model his Golden Globe-winning performance on any particular actor or actress, despite the many parallels.
“I didn’t channel anybody, really,” Cox said to Variety. “It’s a terrific role and a great subject.
It’s about how human beings are hardwired to become numb to pain when they give in to their greed or want for more.
In an interview for the third season of RadioTimes, Cox addressed the Trump similarities, saying: “That’s right; he’s currently inside.
However, both Trump and Logan are just men, with Logan being the better man because he has a better script.”
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He elaborated: “(Trump) is beyond the point of no return. But there’s a secret somewhere in Logan, which I’m still experimenting with.
There’s a tragedy in how isolated and lonely he is. There’s nothing terrible about Trump.”
Succession airs on HBO and HBO Max in the United States on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom on Monday nights at the same time.