Plan B Suits Him to a T
By Gina Piccalo For Emmy.
January 14, 2015
Anton Cropper knows all about starting over.
Anton Cropper, an executive producer of USA’s Suits , knows about working his way up in the business. He started from the bottom — twice.
Born in Sweden, Cropper moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was seven. As a kid, he hung around the sets of 1980s hits Dallas and Moonlighting , watching his camera-assistant father work.
As an ambitious teen, Cropper slipped into L.A.’s early 1990s hip-hop scene, working on music videos and the Russell Simmons hip-hop documentary The Show. Soon he was earning $1,000 a day as an assistant director.
Then he decided to change course and get into television, which meant, “I started the process all over again.”
Brian Robbins, who’d directed The Show, hired him as a production assistant on Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy Kenan & Kel. Within a few years, Cropper had leapt to second- and first -assistant director jobs on HBO’s Arli$$, where Robbins was executive producer, and Six Feet Under.
By 2003, Monk was the USA’s first big hit and director Randy Zisk was looking for a first-assistant director.
“Randy knew I wasn’t as experienced as some of the other candidates, but embraced my instincts,” Cropper says. “Under his guidance and mentorship I learned how to produce and direct.”
Cropper caught the attention of USA’s Jeff Wachtel, now president and chief content office for NBCU Cable Entertainment, and their relationship opened doors at USA and Universal Cable Productions.
When the USA series Fairly Legal was heading into its third season, Cropper was tapped as a directing producer to help adjust the show creatively. He played a similar role as executive producer on the legal drama Suits, coming in to help “tune up” the show’s third season; it’s now approaching season five.
As a self-described black American with mixed heritages, Cropper acknowledges it’s harder for minorities in entertainment to “get into some of the rooms” where key decisions are being made. But “once you sort of cross that line and establish that trust,” he adds, “then your reputation precedes you.”