Don’t ask Bob Daly how to run Hollywood, at least not yet.
“I decided when I left Warner Bros. not to give advice about how to run these companies,” Daly says. “I always hated it when I was there and someone who had been out of the business did that.”
Daly and Terry Semel, who admittedly inherited a well-oiled machine from the Ted Ashley regime, presided over a remarkable run for almost 20 years. During their tenure, Warner evolved from a traditional movie studio to a massive entertainment conglom with hugely successful pics such as “Batman,” “Twister,” the “Lethal Weapon” series and “The Fugitive.”
He has no regrets about his surprise decision to leave in 1999.
“Both Terry and I decided we really wanted a change of pace because after 450 movies, it was time to turn it over to someone else,” he muses.
Daly spent most of the next five years as a managing partner with the Los Angeles Dodgers while they were owned by News Corp., then left when Frank McCourt bought the team early this year. Despite the lack of a pennant, it was nothing but fun, to hear him tell it.
“I’m a lifelong fan, and I absolutely loved being in the Dodger front office,” he says. “I took a tremendous amount of pride in how the team did this season since 90% of the players were ones we assembled before I left.”
Daly still talks to people in the biz every day, checking grosses, ratings and SoundScan figures and investing in ventures such as Broadway play “The Boy From Mars.”
“Working 24/7 for as long as I did — 20 years at Warners and 25 at CBS — was exhausting,” the 67-year-old admits. “Now I’m enjoying myself.”
He’s not looking to get back into the entertainment industry in any kind of full-time capacity but admits he would consider a slot like the Disney chairmanship if it were offered.
“I would only get involved again if it were something special like that,” he says. “I would consider it. But it has to be the right situation.”
Current Disney chairman George Mitchell hits the mandatory of 72 next August.