Vale: Sam Chisholm

Former industry executive Sam Chisholm, who was CEO at Nine twice, has died, aged 78.

He died on Monday evening at the Sydney Adventist Hospital with family at his side, according to media reports.

Chisholm’s media career spanned four decades including 15 years as boss of the Nine Network and a stint as chief executive at Britain’s Sky Television.

A Nine spokesperson said, “Sam Chisholm was CEO at Nine in two stints… first in the halcyon television days of the 80s & early 90s and then briefly in 2005. In that first role he was always regarded as a pugnacious go-getter. 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 ten 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.”

Despite his tough character, Chisholm was also benevolent behind the scenes. When Graham Kennedy became ill in his later years, an anonymous benefactor donated a substantial sum (reported to be $150,000) for Kennedy’s ongoing support and health care after Kerry Packer, for whom Kennedy had made millions of dollars throughout his career, had declined a plea for financial help. Two days after Kennedy’s death, Noeline Brown confirmed that the benefactor was Sam Chisholm.

In 2004 he was inducted into Logies Hall of Fame. In 2013 he was appointed an Order of Australia (AO), for service to medical research and health organisations in Australia as a corporate leader and through fundraising.

Source: Daily Telegraph, Wikipedia


  1. thedirtydigger

    With a passing resemblance ( and stature ) to a latter day Jimmy Cagney, Sam personified TV’s Golden Age of the politically incorrect 80’s …strutting the carpeted corridors of TCN Nine in the days when French champagne flowed like water and MeToo was only an answer to “who wants another drink?” at his famed third floor bar.
    Arrogant, tough and tenacious with a surprisingly soft heart ( sometimes ) …Sam was a master salesman who became a brilliant television executive, ably serving Packer and then Murdoch in the UK where he salvaged the money bleeding mess that was SKY.
    He famously ordered Murdoch’s British TV executives to give back their company BMW’s in a car park dawn heist, one of scores of salacious Sam stories – some unprintable but mostly true.
    He was arguably the last of the larger than life TV chiefs, although his protege David Leckie came cigarette paper…

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