Brian Walsh dies at the age of 68

Upon joining Ten Network, Walsh began creating what would become an enduring perception of him: an old-school showman. He was behind the launch of the iconic Kennedy Miller television dramas, The Dirtwater Dynastyand two projects starring a then-rising star named Nicole Kidman, Vietnam And Bangkok Hilton.

He was also instrumental in Ten’s decision to take over a show that was dropped by his rival Seven. Neighbors. Under Walsh’s watchful eye, the series was repackaged, adding stars like Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce to its roster, and becoming a national institution for three decades.

Pearce took to Twitter on Friday morning to express his sadness, saying: “I am shocked and deeply devastated by the news that I have lost my longtime friend and mentor Brian Walsh. Your compassion and support will never be forgotten, mate.”

While at Ten, Walsh also honed a great passion for sports. He oversaw the promotion of two Summer Olympics, 1984 in Los Angeles and 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. By this time Ten was also covering rugby league, a sport in which Walsh would rise to some prominence.

When Walsh left Ten to start his own business in 1989, his first client was the New South Wales Rugby League. “At the time, when the game wasn’t at its best, there were a lot of problems with on-field fighting, if you will, and most importantly, a lot of parents wouldn’t let their kids play in junior rugby league,” Walsh said .

“My job was to improve the image of the game and so I selected half a dozen first years who we felt would convey a positive image of rugby league. Wayne Pearce, Andrew Ettingshausen, Bradley Clyde and Laurie Daley all became part of the machinery that moved the league forward.”

It was an advertising agency that wrapped American singer Tina Turner with the song what you see is what you getbut it was Turner’s agent, Australian talent manager Roger Davies, who later contacted Walsh and then-NRL boss John Quayle to suggest a song from one of Turner’s new albums for a new NRL campaign.

Davies sent them an audio cassette of it Simply the best. “As soon as we all heard it, we knew we had the song for the game,” Walsh said. “And that was the catalyst for what I believe to be the most impactful sports campaign in Australia.”

His career has linked him to everyone from Kidman and the young stars of Neighbors to Hugh Jackman, whom he hired to co-host a fashion series in 1997, to the likes of legendary film critic Bill Collins, singer Olivia Newton-John and talk show legends like Mike Walsh and Michael Parkinson.

Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke said countless Australian stories have been told and careers forged as a result of Walsh’s vision.

Walsh was the second hired employee (after the CEO) at Foxtel. He later held the post of Director of Television and more recently oversaw the platform’s drama “Originals” development, overseeing titles such as Wentworth, Deadline Gallipoli, The Kettering Incident and last Love me, Colin from accounts And The Twelve.

“This is a very difficult day for [us]. Australia’s creative community has lost a very popular personality in Brian [and] the loss is hard for us to feel,” said Patrick Delany, CEO of Foxtel. “Brian has been a longtime mentor, confidante, colleague and steadfast friend to so many.


“Today we mourn the passing of Brian,” Delany said. “Our condolences go out to his family and those closest to him. We have lost an Australian television icon who will never be replaced. Rest in peace Brian.”

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Jaclyn Diaz

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