How Scooter Braun Turned Luck With First Series ‘Scorpion’ Into Prolific TV Business

Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did.

Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor who claims to have the fourth-highest IQ in the world. The result was the first series SB Projects ever put into development anywhere, one that Braun executive produces and that hails from CBS Television Studios and SB.  Scott Manson, chief operating officer of SB Projects, knows that such out-of-the-box success is a rarity.

“Scooter has incredible taste, but he has even more incredible luck,” Manson says.

Both Manson and Braun say TV has been a learning experience for the company. “It was a lot of work in the beginning, and now a brilliant team is going season four on a brilliant show,” Braun says of “Scorpion.” “And I learned a lot from CBS CEO Les Moonves. I think he’s one of the smartest people ever.”

Luck and an approach that is deferential to studio partners has yielded a full pipeline. SB Projects has scripted development in the works at CBS, ABC, FX, E!, Disney Channel, Netflix and Facebook. Much of it is in early stages, though E! has bought “Inspiration,” a musical drama from “Hidden Figures” writer Allison Schroeder.

The vision for scripted programming at the company is the same one that guides it in music and other media.

“We’re not just being passive producers,” Manson says. “We have an eye for material and for worlds we think could resonate with broad audiences.” Another key element is “trusting Scooter’s gut the same way we do if we’re considering signing a musician — whether we’re going to align with a showrunner or creator on a particular project. He has really great instincts on what works, and he is extremely talent friendly.”

More TV

  • THE EXPANSE -- "Intransigence" Episode 309

    'The Expanse' Moves to Amazon for Season 4

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

  • Arrested Development Season 5 review

    TV Review: 'Arrested Development' Season 5 on Netflix

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

  • Showtime Executive, Gary Garfinkle.Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS©2012

    Gary Garfinkel, Co-Head of Content Acquisitions at Showtime, Dies at 55

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

  • KIM POSSIBLE - The cast of

    'Kim Possible' Disney Channel Movie Casts Its Dr. Drakken, Shego, Other Key Characters

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

  • Ted Danson Remote Controlled Podcast

    Remote Controlled: 'The Good Place' Star Ted Danson on His 'Delicious' Role

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

  • Josh Holloway Colony

    Josh Holloway on Season 3 of 'Colony' in Trump Era: 'It's Scary, the Parallels of This Show'

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

  • Mick Betancourt Joins Syfy's 'Deadly Class'

    Mick Betancourt Joins Syfy's 'Deadly Class' in Showrunner Switch

    Nobody lands a long-running broadcast drama with their first scripted television project. But Scooter Braun did. “Scorpion,” starring “American Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee, is in its fourth season on CBS. The procedural drama grew out of a deal that Braun’s SB Projects cut for the life rights to computer expert Walter O’Brien, a government contractor […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content