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Participant Media betting big on social-centric TV channel ‘Pivot’

Participant Media, the company behind films such as “Good Night and Good Luck,” “Lincoln” and “The Help,” is launching a new cable TV channel, “Pivot.” The channel will launch in 40 million homes with pay-TV, but in a first will also be available to homes without cable too. users can purchase a subscription straight from the channel and watch it online or on their mobile devices. The Pivot App will allow for both live and on-demand viewing.

Led by former IFC chief Evan Shapiro, the new channel is a general entertainment network, but with a heart and a focus on current events and helping others. Considering its target audience is people 15-34, the channel is making social integration a pivotal (sorry) part of the equation. Beyond the basics, like social network integration into the app, viewers will also be able to participate in shows, like “HitRECord on TV!,” from actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“HitRECord” is being described as a new type of variety show, hosted and directed by Gordon-Levitt. It will be comprised of content submitted by viewers, with a twist: the community will help make the submissions come to life.

“The point is to open the door to everybody, people who never did their art professionally,” Gorden-Levitt said at Pivot’s New York City launch. “Whether they write a script that I eventually act out, or whether someone draws something and someone else animates it.”

Gordon-Levitt compared “HitRECord” to a “benevolent dictatorship,” and although he is the director, content is king.

“[It isn't] a variety show like, ‘here, let’s talk and plug your next project,’ it’s like ‘let’s just do a whole bunch of really fun shit,’” he says.

The channel will feature acquired programming, like “Friday Night Lights” and “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” as well as other originals, like “Raising McCain” a talk show/reality hybrid hosted by Meghan McCain, and “Will,” a drama about a young William Shakespeare from the writer of “Moulin Roge.” Pivot will also be partnering with Univision on a documentary series in 2014.

Starting in August, the network will also launch a nightly talk show called “Take part Live,” which will be built around suggestions from viewers. “The nightly show will also be fully second-screen enabled, featuring live interaction with the cast, polling, social media sharing and more,” the network adds.

More information in the official announcement, below.

THIS SUMMER, PARTICIPANT MEDIA

(LINCOLN, THE HELP, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH)

TURNS TO TELEVISION WITH THE LAUNCH OF pivot 

New Network’s Disruptive Model Celebrates Core Audience of Millennials

“TV That Matters For The New Greatest Generation” Includes:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Open Source Variety Show, ‘HitRECord on TV!’;

‘TakePart Live,’ LIVE Topical Talk Nightly; Shakespeare 2.0 tale ‘Will’ From Craig Pearce & Cineflix Studios; ‘Raising McCain’ starring Meghan McCain;

Romeo and Juliet Reality, ‘Jersey Strong’;

Bilingual Documentary-Series, co-produced with Univision News

World Television Premieres of Feature Films Including ‘A Place at the Table,’ ‘Terms and Conditions,’ ‘We Are Legion,’ ‘99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film’

NEW YORK, March 27, 2013 — At a presentation held today at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, executives from Participant Media, the leading provider of entertainment that inspires and accelerates social change, unveiled details surrounding the August 1st launch of the company’s new cable network, pivot.

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.”

With 40+ million subscribers at launch, pivot’s programming slate is anchored by more than 300 hours of original programming in its first year.  The network’s first six greenlit series are: “TakePart Live,” a live talk show, five nights a week; “HitRECord on TV!,” a re-imagination of the variety show from director/creator/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and executive producer Brian Graden; “Raising McCain,” a genre-bending docu-talk series starring and executive produced by the complex and accomplished Meghan McCain with Go Go Luckey Entertainment; modern period drama “WILL,” from Craig Pearce, writer of “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby”; “Jersey Strong,” a real reality series from Peabody Award-winners Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin.  The network also announced a pioneering joint venture with Univision News and Latin World Entertainment to co-produce ten, one-hour documentaries that will air on pivot in English and Univision in Spanish.

Network president Evan Shapiro introduced pivot’s programming slate as well as its innovative 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.

Reacting to the announcements, Daniel York, DIRECTV’s Chief Content Officer, commented: “We’re proud to be the first to embrace this new independent network. pivot combines Participant’s track record for high-quality content and strong social messages, with an innovative approach to the business that we look for in our content partners.  Their programming speaks to the next generation of DIRECTV customers and their flexible rights model will help us reach them.”

Using a new piece of research from Miner & Co. Studio and Beagle Insights and pivotShapiro reframed the industry language concerning cord-cutters and cord-nevers – calling these consumers “Broadband Believers.”  The research presented demonstrates that this specific audience stands at 10 million-plus homes in the US and growing.

Shapiro added: “Traditional TV viewing is by far the dominant way people enjoy television programming, and pivot will compete for TV Traditionalists every day and night.  We also want to serve Broadband viewers. Both communities are MVPD customers.  This summer, for the first time, both groups will be able to get this new channel, and pivot will be the first channel, which satellite, telco and cable companies can offer to ALL of their customers.” 

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

HITRECORD ON TV!

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)

TAKEPART LIVE

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.

 

RAISING MCCAIN

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)

 

JERSEY STRONG

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)

 

UNIVISION NEWS AND LATIN WORLD ENTERTAINMENT DOCUMENTARY SERIES

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)

 

WORLD TELEVISION FILM PREMIERES

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.

ACQUISITIONS & DEVELOPMENT

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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