People/Biz

New GRB president Scot Cru talks rebrand, global expansion

Sherman Oaks-based indie prodco and distributor GRB Entertainment has rebranded and is now GRB Studios, with an expanded focus on worldwide growth and a renewed push into premiere content. Scot Cru (pictured), ...
October 10, 2018

Sherman Oaks-based indie prodco and distributor GRB Entertainment has rebranded and is now GRB Studios, with an expanded focus on worldwide growth and a renewed push into premiere content.

Scot Cru (pictured), who previously served as president of GRB’s international sales and distribution, has again been upped to president of the reorganized company. He will work with founder and CEO Gary R. Benz to push the company towards a greater international footprint and more partnerships and co-productions with other indies.

Cru immediately promoted Karen Pinto to EVP of production and Megan Reeves to SVP of development. Patrice Choghi, who Cru recently brought on as SVP of international, will continue in that role and run the company’s international distribution and production arm.

Cru sees his role as president as a collaborative process, working alongside Benz and a small team who have their hands in everything. “I’m the president of the company, but we’re a very small company. We wear several different hats all throughout the day. Everybody in this company does,” says Cru, in an interview with realscreen. “I could be talking about a domestic format development we’re doing, and the next meeting we could be talking about acquiring 100 hours of somebody’s great program out of the UK, so it’s all of those things, and I’m running point. I’m like the coach, and Gary’s the owner of the team, I guess.”

Cru joined GRB in July after 15 years working with Mark Burnett. He was quickly upped to the head role when a former lead executive departed the company.

“We’re going to be maintaining our strengths in the core business that we’ve been doing for years, which is great distribution of over 3,500 hours of content that we put through our distribution arm, and producing our award-winning series like [A+E Networks'] Intervention,” he says. “But also looking at different ways to create new revenue streams. At the end of the day it all comes down to great content, and we want to expand our relationship with independent producers, not only here in LA but around the world.”

That independence is one of the main messages Cru wants to drive home. While smaller companies might get lost in the shuffle at larger studios, Cru wants GRB Studios to be home to those independent producers with great ideas who are ready to move on them now.

“We can make quick, fair deals with producers, and then work aggressively with them to develop their content and get it out into the marketplace,” he says.

He’s also keen to diversify content moving forward. “We’ve been very strong in the super high-end, Emmy Award-winning cable space, but we haven’t been doing a lot of network. We haven’t done a big shiny floor show, we haven’t done big formats,” he says.

Cru remains mum about what specific projects we can expect from GRB Studios, though he hints that at least some of the new slate will be announced at the upcoming MIPCOM marketplace.

“We are aggressively expanding our reach with celebrity-driven development projects and there’ll be some announcements coming out about those,” he says.

For now, the priority will remain on expanding while continuing what the company has been known for over its 30-year run.

“We’re shifting our focus to be more inclusive and not so narrow-minded in what our output is. And that’s the biggest takeaway from our rebrand to GRB Studios.”

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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