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Participant Media Launches New Cable Network, ‘Pivot,’ with a Social Conscience and HitRECord Joe

Participant Media Launches New Cable Network, 'Pivot,' with a Social Conscience and HitRECord Joe

Everybody loves cable these days. Wednesday at an Upfront presentation at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media, which backs entertainment that accelerates social change (“Lincoln,” “The Help,” “An Inconvenient Truth”) announced the August 1 launch of its new cable network, pivot. Participant is targeting Millennials ages 18-34 with its “TV That Matters For The New Greatest Generation” programming slate, full list below. 

Additionally, pivot announced a multi-platform, “disruptive model” partnership with Rolling Stone, again aimed at interacting with Millenials, that will appear on air, online and in books.  With 40+ million subscribers at launch, pivot’s programming slate is
anchored by more than 300 hours of original programming in its first

Already on board as the network’s first six greenlit series are “HitRECord on TV!”, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s re-imagined open source variety show with executive producer Brian Graden; topical talk show “TakePart Live” will air five nights a week;  Shakespeare 2.0 tale “Will” From “Moulin Rouge” co-writer Craig Pearce & Cineflix Studios; “Raising McCain,” a genre-bending docu-talk series starring Meghan McCain; Romeo and Juliet reality series, “Jersey Strong,” from Peabody Award-winners Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin; and a ten-part one-hour bilingual documentary series, co-produced with Univision News and Latin World Entertainment. World TV premieres of feature films include “A Place at the Table,” “Terms and Conditions,” “We Are Legion,” and “99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film.”

Participant CEO Jim Berk said:

“Over the past 9 ½ years, through 43 films, Participant has built a reputation for content that is entertaining, commercial and high quality, while at the same time, inspiring and empowering to audiences. pivot marks a seminal moment for us with the launch of a channel for people who care about the world around them.”

Network president Evan Shapiro introduced pivot’s programming slate and explained its distribution strategy:

“The success of this network will be based on its impact. Both our programming and distribution model are designed to disrupt conventional wisdom. By building the network around our double bottom line, we spark change through entertaining stories told by powerful voices such as Joe, Meghan, Craig, the Marks and Univision.  By combining the dominant Pay TV model with an unconventional streaming package, we are adapting to changes our audience has already made.”

Pivot will be available through traditional Pay TV packages, offered by multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) across the country.  For these subscribers, pivot will offer perhaps the most comprehensive set of TV Everywhere rights in the industry, allowing subscribers to stream the network, Live and On Demand; to any device, anywhere.

Even more unconventionally, for consumers often known as cord-cutters and cord-nevers, pivot will work with its MVPD partners to offer a first-of-a-kind broadband-only subscription, including a linear stream of the network and access to programming on demand.

The following series have been greenlit for production and will premiere in 2013:

  • Producer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Brian Graden Productions; Lois Curren, Brian Graden,
  • Gaurav Misra
  • A new take on the variety show, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who directs countless artists from his global online community – hitRECord – to create short films, live performances, music, animation, conversation, and of course, more! Each episode focuses on a different theme as Joe invites and encourages anybody with an internet connection to join him and contribute. Are you RECording? (7 x :30)
  • A one hour, no-holds-barred live show, begins with a live-streamed pre-show midday where viewers help build the show they will see on air that evening. Equal parts serious discussion and comedic take on the daily headlines, “TakePart Live” will bring celebrities, activists, newsmakers and viewers together to discuss and decode the events that make up the fabric of daily life and how to act on the stories that move us.  The nightly show will also be fully second-screen enabled, featuring live interaction with the cast, polling, social media sharing and more.  Additionally, there will be a live-streamed pre-show on the network website and Takepart.com.
  • Producer:  Go Go Luckey Entertainment; Julie Auerbach, Henry Capanna, Tina Gazzerro
  • A genre-busting docu-talk series following Meghan McCain, the outspoken daughter of Senator John McCain, on the road talking to unexpected experts, regular people and members of her generation, exploring the most important and unusual questions of the day framed by Meghan’s experiences in her personal life. (10 X :30)
  • Producer: Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin
  • From the team behind the Peabody Award winning series, “Brick City,” this Newark-based docu-soap chronicles the lives of two families from parallel universes — the street and the executive suite.  Former Blood (Jayda) and Crip (Creep) gang members are raising two kids while pursuing their careers and following their dreams.  Jayda is working to build mentorship programs for young women in Newark, while Creep balances a day job in sanitation with his dream of launching a comedy career.  Brooke is a trial attorney balancing the stress of high stakes litigation with the real life drama of raising two college-aged kids with her partner in life and business – Maggie. “Jersey Strong” will explore Newark’s warm center and tough exterior through the eyes of two unconventional families striving to achieve the American Dream.  (10 x :30 )
  • WILL
  • Writer: Craig Pearce (“The Great Gatsby”, “Moulin Rouge”, “Romeo + Juliet”)
  • Executive Producers: Craig Pearce, Vince Gerardis (“Game of Thrones”), Louise Rosager, Howard Braunstein, Christina Wayne, Hilary Bevan Jones
  • A one-hour scripted series by Cineflix Studios Inc. about young William Shakespeare. Will is a young man from the wrong side of the social, political and economic tracks who, against all the odds, sets out to do that most modern of things: create his own destiny. Set in young Will’s crazy, intense, violent and sexy Elizabethan London, “WILL” is a period piece – but not as we know it. A hip sound track, contemporary shooting style and edgy production design will create a world that is fast, fresh, dangerous, and totally unique. (10 X :60)
  • Through an innovative and groundbreaking joint venture, Univision News, the news division of the leading media company serving Hispanic America, Latin World Entertainment, the premiere Hispanic talent management and entertainment marketing firm in the United States and pivot will join together to a produce and market a series of ten compelling documentaries drawn from the headlines and produced in both Spanish and English. Univision News is no stranger to millennials, often beating the ratings of other major networks in the 18-35 demographic. Its mission to inform, educate and empower Hispanic America is perfectly aligned with pivot’s goals.(10 X :60)
  • Surrounding its original scripted and unscripted series will be world television premieres of Participant Media documentaries, including “Last Call at the Oasis,” “State 194” and “A Place At The Table” as well as festival favorites including “We Are Legion,” “Terms and Conditions” and “99%—The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film,” a compelling portrait of the Occupy Wall Street movement which sheds a light on why and how this movement took off with such explosive force, and what it means.
  • The network announced a robust slate of acquired series that will complete the pivot roster, including all seasons of the following programs: the multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series “Friday Night Lights” about the trials and tribulations of a small town Texas football team (77 x :60); the US TV premiere of WestWind Pictures’ “Little Mosque” (“Little Mosque on the Prairie” in Canada) which takes a satirical look at a Muslim community living in Canada who has rented the town’s Anglican church to start a local mosque (91 x :60); and the Jim Henson Productions sci-fi series “Farscape” about an astronaut from Earth who finds himself part of a fugitive alien starship crew (88 x :60)
  • Also in development at pivot are ten properties including projects with Gotham Chopra, Timothy Scott Bogart, Mary Harron, Deborah Copaken Kogan, and Cineflix Studios.
  • About pivot
  • pivot (pivot.tv) is a new television network from Participant Media, serving passionate millennials with a diverse slate of talent and a mix of original series, acquired programming, films and documentaries. pivot focuses on entertainment that sparks conversation and inspires change, using programs such as “TakePart Live”, its nightly talk show, to illuminate issues through engaging content, and its website TakePart.com to continue the conversation and connect audiences to a wealth of content and customizable actions.  pivot is also changing the media landscape, available via traditional Pay TV subscription this summer to 40 million-plus homes as well as a live streaming channel via its interactive, downloadable pivotApp. In both content and delivery, pivot is TV for The New Greatest Generation. Follow pivot on Twitter at @pivot_tv and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pivottelevision.
  • About Participant Media
  • Participant (participantmedia.com) is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature films, television, publishing and digital content that inspire social change.  Participant’s more than 40 films include “GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.”, “SYRIANA”, “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH”, “FOOD, INC.”, “WAITING FOR ‘SUPERMAN’”, “THE HELP”, “CONTAGION” And “LINCOLN.”  Participant’s social action campaigns and digital network TakePart.com continue the conversation and connect audiences to a wealth of content and actions.  Its new millennial television network pivot, launching this summer in 40 million-plus homes, is TV for The New Greatest Generation.

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