James Dolan: Like Father, Like Son

Finally, good news at Cablevision Systems has shareholders tuning in. On June 9, the company announced it would pick up 10 cable systems serving 820,000 New York customers from rival Tele-Communications, in return for 33% of Cablevision and the assumption of $669 million in debt.

Cablevision says the deal also marks a changing of the guard at Cablevision. Instead of Chairman Charles Dolan at the negotiating table with TCI chairman John Malone, it was son James, 42, who did the dealing with TCI, say officials at the Woodbury (N.Y.) company.

Cablevision is pushing James, CEO since October, 1995, more into the spotlight. But not everyone thinks he's really the chief wheeler-dealer. "Get serious," says Smith Barney analyst John Reidy. "This is John Malone and Charles Dolan. There wouldn't have been a deal" without them.

But stockholders don't seem to care: By June 11, Cablevision stock was up 41%, to 49, from its June 6 close.

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