Spectacular news from the ABC this morning that Paper Giants: Magazine Wars is entering production with an incredible cast – and that Rob Carlton will be reprising his role as the menacing enigma that was Kerry Packer. Focusing on the New Idea/Woman’s Day magazine wars of the 80’s & 90’s this third story in the Paper Giants world is highly anticipated by fans of the original series and reflects the continued demand for quality drama the ABC has delivered in the past two years. From the press release:

Oscar-nominee and Golden Globe winner, Rachel Griffiths; AFI and Logie award-winner Rob Carlton, and Mandy McElhinney will star in the highly-anticipated two-part series Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, which goes into production in Melbourne on Monday August 13.

Produced by John Edwards and Mimi Butler, Magazine Wars tells the story of two women, Nene King and Dulcie Boling, who started a circulation war that totally rewrote the rules of journalism in Australia.

It’s 1987. Hair is big. Shoulder pads are wide. The Royals are still a family.

Flamboyant deputy editor Nene King storms out of New Idea to become editor of Women’s Day, determined to overthrow the immaculate queen of women’s magazines, Dulcie Boling.

The ‘new’ journalism was a potent mix of celebrities, gossip, clairvoyants, paparazzi and gave rise to cheque book journalism in Australia.
Not only does the public lap up the excesses, celebrities play the game, learning to exploit the magazines they claim to despise. Even the once untouchable Royals – Charles and Diana, Fergie and Andrew – are devoured by a media and public for whom nothing remains sacred.

The Magazine Wars create a monster, but will it finally turn on its makers?

Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters, Six Feet Under), plays Dulcie Boling, the regal New Idea editor who broke the glass ceiling in Rupert Murdoch’s corporate empire.

Mandy McElhinney (Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War, At Home With Julia) plays Nene King, the fiery former deputy who fought her own personal demons to take Woman’s Day to the top.

Following on from his award-winning performance as Kerry Packer in Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, and his commanding role in Mabo, Rob Carlton reprises his role as the media mogul Kerry Packer, who while at the height of his power is forced to face mortality.

The cast also includes Angus Sampson (Librarians, Spirited), Khan Chittenden (Sisters of War, Underbelly:Razor), Caren Pistorius (Legend of the Seeker, The Most Fun You Can Have Dying), William Zappa (Crownies, Underbelly Files) Alex England (Wild Boys, Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War) Lucy Bell (Grass Roots, Dirt Game).

Producer, Mimi Butler of Southern Star said, “We’re very excited to have Rachel and Mandy playing these formidable women, Dulcie Boling and Nene King. It’s been a dream story to work on, the drama’s all there – it’s quite Shakespearian. Set in the kingdoms of Packer and Murdoch; there’s rivalry and rebellion, love and tragedy, and great victories along the way – all taking place amid the decadence and rock and roll of the 80s and 90s.”

ABC TV Head of Fiction, Carole Sklan said, “From an outstanding creative team and an exciting cast, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars brings to life two fascinating women and the rivalry that transformed publishing. This remarkable story anticipates the current controversy over the role of the media in the private lives of celebrities.”

Written by Justin Monjo and Keith Thompson, the series will be directed by Daina Reid (Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, Offspring).