×

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

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

  • THE ORVILLE Fox

    'The Orville' to Move From Fox to Hulu for Season 3

    Seth MacFarlane’s “The Orville” is on the move. MacFarlane announced Saturday at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel that Season 3 of the sci-fi series will air exclusively on Hulu rather than on Fox as it has for its first two seasons. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, MacFarlane’s current workload and [...]

  • Westworld Season 3 Trailer

    Aaron Paul, Showrunners Unveil 'Westworld' Season 3 Trailer (Watch)

    Season 3 of “Westworld” is going to new worlds altogether. Unveiled during the show’s Comic-Con panel, the trailer teases Thandie Newton’s character Maeve entering a new world of hosts set during World War II. Meanwhile, in the human world, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her fellow hosts who escaped “Westworld” in season 2 are being [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Dish Faces Multiple Outages as Carriage Contracts Come Due

    Satellite-broadcaster Dish is known in the media industry as a hard bargainer when carriage contracts come up for renewal. HBO hasn’t been available on the service since November. Now, other TV networks face a similar prospect. Unless Dish and certain content suppliers reach new terms by Monday evening, subscribers who use several cable networks currently [...]

  • Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard of

    'Star Trek: Picard' to Feature Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan

    “Star Trek: Picard” is bringing back some familiar faces. During the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel on Saturday, it was revealed that Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, and Jeri Ryan would reprising their roles from “Next Generation” and “Voyager” in Ryan’s case. Jonathan Del Arco will also appear, likely reprising his role as the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content