Viking, $43.80 hb, 536 pp
If Gerald Stone had gone to a publisher with a proposal for a book about Channel Seven or Channel Ten, it is doubtful whether it would ever have seen the light of day. But Stone – who would have endured more than a few pitches in his time as a television executive – had the sense to propose a book about his former employer, Channel Nine, and Compulsive Viewing is the result.
The Nine Network is arguable of more interest to the average Australian than any other commercial television station. TCN-9 was the first station to go to air in Australia; TCN-9 in Sydney and, later, GTV-9 in Melbourne have been presided over by three generations of the legendary Packer family; and, as Stone notes, the network increasingly sees itself as the national broadcaster, now programming federal election debates and election night results without commercials.