×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sam Chisholm, Former BSkyB and Australian TV Executive, Dies at 78

Sam Chisholm, a pugnacious and colorful TV executive long affiliated with Rupert Murdoch’s media empires in Britain and Australia, died Monday. He was 78.

Born in New Zealand, Chisholm was appointed managing director of the Kerry Packer-owned Nine network, in Australia, in 1975. He was just 35 at the time.

With a feisty, larger-than-life approach to business, Chisholm oversaw some of Nine’s most profitable years before joining Murdoch’s Sky Television in the U.K in 1989. He was at the helm when the channels cluster took over rival British Satellite Broadcasting to form BSkyB, the still-dominant pay-TV group, renamed Sky, that Fox and Comcast are currently fighting to own.

Chisholm departed BSkyB in 1997 and joined the board of Australia’s Foxtel in 2001 as a representative of co-owner Telstra.

Born with a chronic enzyme deficiency, Chisholm became a major patron of cancer-research charities in Australia, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 2013 for his corporate leadership and medical fundraising.

He underwent a double lung replacement operation in 2003 that his family acknowledged had given him an extra 15 years of life. “He embraced his second chance at life, enjoying every single day and endeavoring to give back wherever he could,” daughter Caroline Chisholm told Australian media.

As a determined and successful executive, Chisholm seemed to enjoy both his success and his reputation as a bruiser. Australian media reported that he was responsible for popularizing the phrase “losers have meetings, winners have parties.”

“RIP television legend Sam Chisholm. Many years ago, I was collecting donations for diabetes research when I ran into him at Channel 9. He offered me $10,000 but only if I agreed not to tell anyone about it..’Everyone thinks I’m a prick and I plan on keeping that reputation,'” Nine presenter Ben Fordham tweeted.

 

More TV

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

  • David Ajala

    'Nightflyers' Star David Ajala Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Under the Bridge'

    David Ajala has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Under the Bridge,” Variety has learned. In the project, when a scandal rocks the medical practice she runs with her husband and their friends, a surgeon rises to the occasion and takes the lead in trying to mend both the practice and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content