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If You’re Going to Write an Obit… June 18, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.

Jeez, folks, get it right. Semel was the distribution guy at Warners. Not a producer. Not a “talent” guy. Sigh. The Journal:

The person Yahoo ended up selecting in April 2001 was Mr. Semel, the former co-CEO of Warner Bros. He was considered a surprise choice because while he was known as a top handler of Hollywood talent, he wasn’t seen as the main operational guru running Warner Bros.

The reality.

Semel’s early days at Warner were spent on the road as a movie salesman. He traveled across the country with a list of upcoming Warner features, and talked theater owners into buying what hopefully would be the next box-office hit. Semel was such a whiz at sales that he caught the attention of other entertainment companies. In 1971 he became domestic sales manager at CBS-Cinema Center Films. Two years later he was named vice president and general sales manager of Buena Vista, a division of Walt Disney. In 1975 Semel was lured back to where he had begun: Warner Brothers. That same year he met Robert Daly, the man who would become his future business partner.

“We’re not going to be crushed by anyone but our own ineptitude.”

At first Semel was in charge of Warner distribution. Within five years he and Daly were running the entire studio.

It’s true, he wasn’t an operations guy. But come on, there are no operations guys in Hollywood. No comment on “crushed by own ineptitude.”

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