TV veteran and former Nine boss Sam Chisholm dies

One of Nine’s most renowned leaders, Sam Chisholm, has died age 78, after a battle with illness.

Chisholm joined Nine for the first time as CEO and managing director in 1975, and continued to lead the network for the next 15 years, in what was dubbed the ‘golden era’ for Nine, but he was known for his divisive nature, with the network describing the ‘controversial’ figure as a “pugnacious go-getter”.

Chisholm endured two stints at Nine

In his first stint with the network, Chisholm delivered hit shows such as Midday Show, Word Series Cricket and 60 Minutes.

The media veteran, who worked with both Kerry Packer and Alan Bond, then left the network in 1990 to join Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television in the UK, as chief executive. His role saw him take the company through a merger, which resulted in the formation of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).

Following a double lung transplant in 2003, Chisholm briefly returned to Nine as acting chief executive after the abrupt departure of David Gyngell. He was also on the board of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse until 2012 and was appointed an Order of Australia in 2013, for his work with medical research and health organisations.

Other board roles included chairman of Foxtel and director at Telstra.

A spokesperson for Nine described Chisholm as a “pugnacious go-getter”.

“Sam Chisholm was CEO at Nine in two stints… first in the halcyon television days of the 80s and early 90s and then briefly in 2005.

“The so-called ‘starmaker’ at Nine with a big chequebook and loud opinions. Nicknamed a legend in his own lunchtime for his lavish lifestyle at work and play – and the man who popularised the phrase ‘losers have meetings, but winners have parties’.

“Always controversial and a larger than life figure, he left Nine for Britain and Murdoch’s BSkyB and returned 10 years later to a very different and challenging world in Australian television.

“Nine recognises the unique role he played with the Network and for Australian television, and sends their condolences to the extended family and friends on his passing today, in particular his wife Sue and daughter Caroline.”

Others have taken to Twitter to pay tribute:


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