Paper Giants: The birth of Cleo was so good, it had many (including me) calling for sequels as soon as the series finished airing. There’s so much of the story of Ita Buttrose and Kerry Packer’s stories – let alone the rest of Australia’s media – to tell, and we’re all interested. Given the ABC stuck their neck out, we’d all expected that an announcement would come from the desk of Mark Scott any time.

Incredibly, Channel 9 gazzumped them.

Given the next story will focus on KP creating and launching World Series Cricket in the late 1970’s, it kind makes sense. Ch9 have all that archive footage at their disposal. They kinda have the history within their walls. Also, enough books have now been written about and the people involved are still on the Ch9 payroll to be able to use as “consultants”. It should be good. But poor form given how Ch9 allegedly approached this signing. The ABC showed they’d back it and would have done it justice (at least the punchline is that the ABC will get the Paper Giants sequel proper – this seems to be just a side show).

Channel 9 – you better not muck this one up. And by not mucking this up, I mean Rob Carlton HAS to be Kerry Packer. You have been duly warned. From the press release:

The Nine Network announced today it has commissioned a mini-series about Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket revolution.

In conjunction with Southern Star, the team behind the critically acclaimed mini-series Paper Giants, Nine will produce the two-part mini-series with production to commence in 2012.

Produced by John Edwards, the series will follow Kerry Packer’s extraordinary rise to become the most influential businessman in the history of Australian sport.

The mini-series tells how a young Kerry Packer took on the cricket establishment to set up a rebel competition with the world’s best players, who abandoned their loyalty to their national teams to join the breakaway competition. It will recount Packer’s court battles to get World Series Cricket up and running, the secret player signings, and the way he got around the ban on using Australia’s hallowed Test arenas.

Despite poor crowds and low television ratings at first, a brave new world of sports broadcasting had begun, ushering in the era of one-day cricket played under lights.

Day-night cricket was Packer’s masterstroke and the war swung dramatically in his favour on November 28, 1978, when the first day-night match on a traditional cricket ground was played at the SCG between the WSC Australian and West Indian teams to a near-capacity crowd.

Packer was now one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport. He revolutionised player payments, eventually swung the cricket establishment behind him, and put one-day cricket on the map forever.