Roland Kendall knows nothing about the world of television. He doesn’t even watch it much. So, when a friend invites him to join a team of turnaround experts at a struggling television station, Roland is rightly suspicious.
Phil Porter, the marginalised chief executive at Channel 5 Brisbane, wants Roland to act as his eyes and ears on the team, the cuckoo in the consultants’ nest. Roland owes too much to Phil to say no.
Life on a team led by unorthodox Americans Dalton Hinsley and B.B. Olsen is a daily rollercoaster ride. Roland finds himself hiring and firing the on-air talent and being physically attacked by disgruntled staff. He reluctantly masterminds a nightly viewer competition and manages to mislay the $50,000 prize in gold.
He also becomes an unwitting player in the biggest news story of the year. This throws him together with Suzanne Denning, the news team’s rising star. Roland falls instantly for Suzanne and she seems to feel the same about him. But things aren’t always how they look in the world of television and Roland begins to wonder if he’s just a pawn in everyone else’s news game.
As he navigates through his 15 minutes of fame, Roland confronts an urgent life question. Can he stand being at the heart of the action, or will he retreat to a comfortable life in the shadows? When the world does its next live cross to Roland Kendall, will he choose to be there?
Crossing Live is set in the Australia of 1990, a time before the internet, when phones were mostly still attached to walls and the nightly news broadcast formed our view of the world. It takes a light-hearted look at the lengths newsmakers go to for an exclusive story and the sacrifices they make in the chase for ratings.