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The power battles of Australia's media dynasties

Charm, intimidation, decadence and bloody mindedness – the lives of Australia's great media moguls have the ingredients for a great drama, and have now been chronicled in a new television series.
Next-gen Kerry Packer and his son James

Charm, intimidation, decadence and bloody mindedness – the lives of Australia's great media moguls have the ingredients for a great drama, and have now been chronicled in a new television series.

Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch story traces the intertwined histories of the two families over the crucial period between 1960 and 1972 when a young Rupert Murdoch was beginning to make his presence felt to the Packer family – the then incumbent rulers of the media landscape.

It features family patriarch Sir Frank Packer – grandfather to James Packer, incumbent chief executive of the family business – and his schmoozing and political arm-twisting to protect his empire from the upstart Murdoch.

All is not well inside his realm however, and the power struggles of his two sons Kerry and Clyde threaten to topple the family business from within, while the opportunist Murdoch is busily muscling is way into the market by snapping up failing local newspapers.

Tracing the intrigues and backstabbing as a ruthless business family square up to an equally ruthless opponent, the series dramatises the making of two dynasties that would dominate Australia's media well into the 21st century.

It seems Australia just can't get enough of the lives of its larger-than-life media billionaires – the Melbourne Theatre Company is currently telling Murdoch's life story through the medium of dance, while mining magnate Gina Rinehart is due for the same treatment in her own television series.

Power Games is broadcast by Australia's Channel Nine.

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