EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott’s Scott Free is restructuring its TV operation, promoting longtime US-based President of Television David W. Zucker to Head of Worldwide TV. In his expanded new role, he will oversee both Scott Free’s US and UK TV divisions as the company is looking for stronger integration of its creative efforts on both sides of the pond and plans to more actively pursue co-productions.
In the new structure, Marina Brackenbury has been brought in as Head Film and TV in the UK, reporting to Zucker and working alongside Zucker’s top lieutenants in the US, EVPs Jordan Sheehan and Clayton Krueger, with the three working across the company’s slate, domestically and internationally. Brackenbury succeeds Ed Rubin, who recently stepped down as Managing Director of Scott Free London as the company was getting ready to implement the reorganization.
Also promoted is Carina Sposato to VP in the company’s Los Angeles office, while the UK unit has been streamlined with a handful of executives recently departing or segueing onto different contracts.
Zucker has been key to Scott Free’s success in television. The company launched its TV operation in 2001 in the US with one employee, Zucker, who has spearheaded the efforts over the past two decades to its current slate of seven series on broadcast, cable and streaming, more than it has ever had at one time. The list includes returning dramas The Terror on AMC, The Man In the High Castle on Amazon and The Good Fight and Strange Angel on CBS All Access, The Passage on Fox as well as the upcoming the Hot Zone limited series on National Geographic and Raised by Wolves at TNT, which marks Ridley Scott’s TV helming debut.
Meanwhile, Scott Free’s UK operation has only the 2017 Tom Hardy-fronted BBC series Taboo, which is working on a second installment.
“David is one of the most prolific executives I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” Ridley Scott said. “Not only does he have great taste and spot-on creative instincts, he also has unrivaled relationships with talent and studio heads all over town. We are delighted to recognize all of his brilliant work with this new position”
In the 18 year since Scott Free’s TV division was created, the company has produced such series as the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated, Peabody-winning drama, The Good Wife, which aired on CBS for seven seasons, crime drama procedural Numbers, which ran on CBS for six seasons, as well as Civil War medical drama Mercy Street on PBS, summer series Braindead on CBS, and the Amazon action-comedy starring Jean-Claude Van Damme Jean-Claude Van Johnson.
Scott Free’s numerous longform credits include the National Geographic channel’s popular Killing TV movie franchise, Into the Storm, The Company,The Andromeda Strain and Coma. Non-fiction programs include CNN’s Crimes of the Century and the Emmy-winning documentary special Gettysburg for History Channel.
The US office of Scott Free has been in the co-production business since the 2009 miniseries The Pillars of The Earth. Over the years, the company also has functioned as a studio on a number of series, including Raised by Wolves, Jean-Clause Van Johnson, Taboo and Mercy Street. The integration of the US and UK offices will give the company flexibility to to set up projects with any buyer regardless of location, including UK writers selling to US networks and vice versa.
Because the two operations had acted independently, Scott Free’s US office had to take on a UK partner for its series The Man In the High Castle, which started as development at the BBC before moving to the US via SyFy and ultimately landing at Amazon.
“We’ve long enjoyed the expansive global reach of Scott Free productions, and the integration of the US and UK offices will mean there is no ambition with writers and directors that we could not achieve altogether,” Zucker said. “In that pursuit, Jordan and Clayton are exceptional creative forces and have had strong hands in developing and producing some of the company’s most successful programs, while Carina’s contributions have proved vital to our pursuits. Marina brings an incredibly strong reputation, plus a thoughtfulness and originality that excites us all.”
The integrated TV company will maintain its status as independent, able to partner in whatever manner serves the best interest of a project, Zucker added.
Brackenbury recently left FilmWave to produce after serving as Development Producer and Head of Development respectively since 2014. Her combined Film and TV credits at the company included Development Producer on The Letter For the King for Netflix, Executive Producer on Every Day, a feature adaptation of David Levithan’s book written by Jesse Andrews and directed by Michael Sucsy; and Head of Development on John Carney’s Sing Street.
In her previous roles, she acted as Head of Development at Shine Pictures, the feature film division of Endemol Shine and Head of Film at the commercials and music video production company Stink. Prior to working in development, she worked in acquisitions and co-productions in the London offices of Paramount Vantage, Bob Berney’s Picturehouse and New Line Cinema.
Carina works on the Scott Free series The Good Fight and The Passage, along with a focus on identifying new talent. Previously, she was a Story Editor at Parkes + MacDonald and started in the industry at MRC.
Sheehan serves as Executive Producer of Raised By Wolves, Co-Executive Producer of The Man In the High Castle and Co-Executive Producer of The Good Fight. She is also a Co-Executive Producer on The Terror as well as The Hot Zone. During her tenure at Scott Free, Sheehan served as a Co-Executive Producer on Braindead and spent several years working in the film division .
Krueger serves as Executive Producer of The Passage and Co-Executive Producer of Strange Angel and previously co-executive produced Jean-Claude Van Johnson and Mercy Street.
Andreas Wiseman contributed to this report.