Sam Haskell, III
Chairman and CEO, Miss America Organization
In 2007 Television Weekly named Sam Haskell, III “One of the 25 Most Innovative and Influential People in Television of the Last 25 Years,” an honor he shared with Bill Cosby, Ted Turner, Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Walter Cronkite and other television legends. Haskell earned his ranking among the industry’s best through his 26-year career at the renowned William Morris Agency where he was one of the most powerful agents and dealmakers in the business.
Originally from Amory, Mississippi (population 7000) and a 1977 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Haskell’s career began in the Fall of 1978 when he moved to Los Angeles and fought his way into the renowned William Morris Agency mailroom, about which David Rensin wrote extensively in his 2003 bestseller "The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up." By May 1980, he was promoted to agent in the TV Variety Department where he packaged specials starring Lily Tomlin, Lynda Carter, Debbie Allen, David Frost and Diana Ross. In 1990, he became the Agency’s youngest Senior Vice-President, and in 1994, was elevated to the position of West Coast Head of Television. In 1997 he was named Executive Vice President and a member of the WMA Board of Directors, and, in 1999, he was appointed to the esteemed position of Worldwide Head of Television.
Haskell oversaw the "packaging" of all agency-represented network projects, including such mega-hits as "The Cosby Show," Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Mad About You," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Lost," "Murphy Brown," "Sisters," "Suddenly Susan," "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee," "Diagnosis Murder," "King of Queens," "Las Vegas" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," among many others.