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Scott Freeman can trace his career in television back to his childhood and some help from a famous name. The recently named senior VP, current programming and development, for Bunim-Murray Productions, producer of The Real World, Road Rules and The Simple Life, among other reality shows, grew up in Modesto, Calif., reading TV Guide regularly and developing an encyclopedic knowledge of programming and actors. A hometown office-supply–store owner advised Freeman's mother not to stifle her son's creativity. Considering the source, that was good advice. That man was George Lucas Sr., whose son's Star Wars films made cinematic history.

After receiving a B.A. in theater arts from Santa Clara University, Freeman joined youth educational organization Up With People as a performer. He credits the experience with enhancing his creativity. “It's actually helped me in my career here. I think everything I've done has really been touched by it.”

Freeman later became assistant to Dick Howard at William Morris Agency. He compares the experience to going to graduate school. After a stint as talent coordinator and segment producer for such shows as Conversations, with Dinah Shore, and Match Game, Mark Itkin, worldwide head of syndication for William Morris, asked him to return as his assistant. Itkin later introduced Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray to each other, and Freeman followed into the mix.

He began as assistant to the co-founders in 1994, moving from manager of development to director before his most recent position as VP, creative affairs, reporting to Philip Segal.

“Things are made with fun and a sense of love and adventure,” says Freeman, “It shows on screen.”