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.”