Brad Lyons, the Seven Network’s former director of production and a network executive for 20 years, died on Sunday from cancer.
After joining the broadcaster in 1997 as head of infotainment, he climbed the management ladder and oversaw some of its biggest franchises including My Kitchen Rules, House Rules, Little Big Shots, The Chase, Dancing With the Stars and First Dates.
Among the shows he was most proud of, he pointed to Dancing with the Stars, Deal or No Deal and My Kitchen Rules.
Australia was the first territory in the world to acquire the UK format Strictly Come Dancing and the first to strip Deal or No Deal Monday-Friday.
A former journalist, he worked for newspapers in Western Australia before joining Seven News in Perth. He then worked for the Nine Network and Beyond Productions before returning to Seven.
Former Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner tells IF: “Bradley had a superb instinct for great stories and an even better one for telling them and that was very clear from very early on. He took that gift and turned it into a brilliant career as a reporter, producer and executive.
“There was no better show maker and no way that a rough cut wasn’t coming out the other side of his screening so much better – often with feedback that was unfailingly frank. But always spot on. So many of his ideas still have life on networks all around the world.
“As a teammate, he was so spirited and proud and often loud. He loved to laugh and those around him did a lot of it as well, he made sure of that. But he reserved the most pride and love for his girls. They lit him up like nothing else.”
Angus Ross, Seven’s director of programming, says: “Brad was one of those larger than life television executives. Super competitive, passionate, brutally honest and with an incredible gut feel for television.
“His ability to tell stories on screen was only eclipsed by his ability to tell great stories to friends and colleagues with a pinot noir in his hand.
“Through all the ups and downs we experienced he never lost his wicked sense of humour – which was always helpful to get through the rough stuff.
“The legacy of his outstanding work lives on in the original Australian formats that continue to screen on Seven and other networks around the world.”
Seven West Media CEO James Warburton said: “We were devastated to learn of Brad’s passing. Brad was an instrumental creative force at Seven for two decades. He saw the launch of over 25 titles in his time.
““We will all miss his energy and passion, which we were so lucky to experience. Brad was a second-to-none creative mind, and we were so fortunate to have a had chance to work with him and get to know him for the truly incredible person he was.”
After departing the network in 2017 he told IF: “I loved every minute at Seven and I was given opportunities that were amazing. But I’m first and foremost a content creator and the world is opening up unbelievably in this area that I thought I must have a change.
“I’m keen to explore all areas of content creation and I have quite a few passion projects I’d love to see fly.”
He is survived by his wife Debbie and their three daughters.