Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
The long-time rivalry between Australian media tycoons Rupert Murdoch and the Packers- Frank Packer and his son Kerry- which involved fisticuffs at one point, will be chronicled in the miniseries Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story. Set in the period 1960-1975, the production will detail the struggles between Murdoch and the Packers in the newspaper and television industries. “Through 15 years of political intrigue, raw corporate power and high-rolling luxury, these fierce rivals used every means at their disposal to build their empires – and ultimately came to respect and admire each other as titans on the world media stage”, according to the synopsis. Power Games is produced by Southern Star Entertainment’s John Edwards for the Nine Network, which the Packers owned until 2007.
The four-hour program will deal with an infamous incident in 1960 when Murdoch, Packer and the Fairfax group were battling over suburban newspapers and there was an altercation at a printing press when Kerry Packer was assaulted. Edwards tells Deadline the starting point is Murdoch’s move to Sydney from Adelaide and will continue through his acquisition of The News Of The World and two papers in San Antonio, Texas. David Caesar is writing the screenplay with Samantha Winston and he will direct, probably with Daina Reid. Endemol Distribution will handle international sales.
Nine announced the project on Tuesday local time when it unveiled its 2013 programming line-up. Also on the slate is Schapelle, a telepic produced by FremantleMedia which examines the case of Schapelle Corby, a beauty therapist who was caught in Bali with marijuana stashed in a boogie board in 2004. Producers Hal and Di McElroy are mounting a six-hour remake of Return To Eden, a 1983 miniseries about a rich businesswoman who goes into hiding after being brutally attacked at her outback property and plots her revenge. Also, the network provided further details about the previously announced miniseries Gallipoli, which will go into production next year for airing in 2015, marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in WW1. Robert Connolly (Underground: The Julian Assange Story) has come aboard as a producer with John Edwards and Imogen Banks, and it will be directed by Glendyn Ivin (Beaconsfield, Puberty Blues). Endemol Distribution is handling internationally. Nine’s line-up includes new U.S. series The Following and Arrow, UK series Parade’s End, plus Australia’s Got Talent (which the Seven Network dumped this year) and new seasons of The Voice and Big Brother.