Can the deliberate hand of Bob Daly bring a comforting touch to the evolution at Paramount?
On May 12, Viacom announced that Daly would take on a newly created non-exec post to consult on the movie studio and cable businesses — putting Daly back in showbiz, after a stint at the Dodgers.
With the conglom preparing to split into two entities and the studio morphing under chairman Brad Grey and new prexy Gail Berman, staffers and potential pic partners may be reassured by the Daly move.
When the exec teamed with Terry Semel during the 1980s and ’90s, they helped Warner Bros. expand from a traditional movie studio into a massive entertainment conglom. The duo’s philosophy was Think Big: Big stars, big projects, big bucks, with an eye on the big picture (i.e., franchises, video, et al.)
While at Warners, Daly and Semel were behind huge franchises such as the “Batman” and “Lethal Weapon” series. Also under their tenure were such critical and B.O. hits as “The Fugitive,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Chariots of Fire” and “Unforgiven.”
Daly and Semel surprised the town by leaving Warner Bros. in 1999, both declaring that they wanted a change of pace after having greenlit more than 400 movies.
Since departing the Dodgers in early 2004, Daly’s received a variety of offers but has insisted he doesn’t want a fulltime gig because he wants to spend 50% of his time on other projects such as charity work.
Daly’s ties with Grey harken back to the late 1980s when Warner acquired Lorimar, which owned the Brillstein management company. Under that deal, Bernie Brillstein regained control of the company, where Grey was running the day-to-day operations.