Influential Australian television executive Brian Walsh dies at 67

Brian Walsh, a veteran media executive who helped revive the struggling 1980s soap opera Neighbors, has died in Sydney at the age of 67.

Walsh has held senior positions at Ten Network, Sky Broadcasting in the UK, Sky TV in Asia and Foxtel in Australia in a broad career spanning nearly 50 years.

He was also the driving force behind various Australian TV shows such as Neighbours, A Place to Call Home, Wentworth and Colin from Accounts.

After starting his career at ABC, Walsh worked in feature film production and distribution for Palm Beach Pictures and in promotion and publicity for Sydney radio station 2SM.

When he later joined Ten Network, he was instrumental in the network’s decision to acquire Neighbors, which had been abandoned by rival channel Seven in 1985.

Under Walsh’s leadership, the series was reorganized to worldwide success.

He’s also known for helping build the careers of stars like Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Kylie Minogue, and Jason Donovan.

Hollywood actor Guy Pearce, who starred in Neighbors, paid tribute to Walsh on Twitter this morning.

“I am shocked and devastated by the news of the passing of my longtime friend and mentor Brian Walsh. Your compassion and support will never be forgotten. [sic] Guidance as you travel through Ramsay Street and beyond. ”

Brian Walsh later became Foxtel’s Executive Director.(AAP: Tracy Nearmy)

In 1995 Walsh joined Foxtel and helped establish subscription television in Australia.

He was also responsible for Australian Rugby League’s iconic ‘Simply The Best’ marketing campaign featuring singer Tina Turner in the 1990s.

Most recently, he supervised the development of original dramas as an officer of the company.

Foxtel Group Chief Patrick Delaney said in a statement: “Australia’s creative community has lost a much loved person in Brian.

“For us, the loss is very felt.At Foxtel Group, Brian was a longtime mentor, confidant, colleague and steadfast friend.”

Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke wrote that he was “devastated” upon hearing of Walsh’s death.

“Brian’s vision, dedication and innate understanding of great storytelling have helped tell countless Australian stories and build a career.” Influential Australian television executive Brian Walsh dies at 67

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