Follow the Fun

26 September 2023
By Josey MacDonald ’25
Bob Daily ’82 and actress Marcia Cross pose with a bust of Friedrich Schiller on the “Desperate Housewives” series set.
Bob Daily ’82 and actress Marcia Cross pose with Schiller on the Desperate Housewives series set.

As an English major and former Carletonian editor, Bob Daily ’82 always knew he wanted to write for a living. Now a two-time Writers Guild of America Award winner for NBC’s Frasier and writer and producer for shows like Rugrats, Desperate Housewives, and the Peabody-winning The Wonder Years, Daily returned to Carleton this spring as visiting screenwriter-in-residence, made possible by a gift from the Four Friends Foundation.

“Being in a Hollywood writers room is very much like being at Carleton,” Daily says. “I spend my day hanging out with 10 to 15 really smart, funny, interesting people, and we talk about stories all day and brainstorm with each other. I was chasing what I had at Carleton my whole life and I finally found it [in those rooms].”

Although television writing is a craft that comes with templates and rules of storytelling, Daily says that much of it is about having the right instincts, which his Carleton students absolutely do. “I’m just trying to help them tap into that and put a layer of craft onto the good instincts they already have.”

Daily’s post-college career began in an improv comedy club, and he just “followed the path [he] thought would be more fun” from there — something he makes sure to tell current Carls.

“I said to them on the first day of class: If nothing else, if this gives you a greater appreciation for watching television and you know what goes into the creation of a great script, that’s worth it,” Daily says. “We should always find the playfulness and joy in what we do.”

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