Blockbuster's Fired Up Mr. Fixit

John Antioco's reputation for reviving ailing retail chains faces its toughest test yet at the video giant

When it comes to doing his homework, John F. Antioco is something of a fanatic. Take his job interview for the top post at Blockbuster Entertainment Group last spring. Viacom Chairman Sumner M. Redstone had blocked out one hour for lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But Redstone was quickly charmed by the former fast-food executive, who sounded as if he had been in the video-rental business for years. The lunch went on for hours. "He surprised me," recalls Redstone, who was quickly convinced that Antioco was "the guy who will turn Blockbuster around."

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