Pivot will launch August 1 with 40 million-plus subscribers and feature more than 300 hours of original programming in its first year. The cable network was hatched in December after film producer Participant Media acquired the Documentary Channel and then the distribution assets of emerging cable net Halogen TV. The plan is to target millennials via Participant’s brand of socially relevant entertainment — its film credits include An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc, The Help, Lincoln and Promised Land — catering to adults 18-34. Among the greenlighted series announced today at the network’s upfront presentation in New York is a live nightly talk show, a variety show from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brian Graden, a docu-talk series from Meghan McCain, and the drama Will from Craig Pearce (The Great Gatsby). Last month, the network hired FremantleMedia North America exec Holly Hines as SVP Scripted Programming. “Over the past 9 1/2 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”, said Participant CEO Jim Berk. “pivot marks a seminal moment for us with the launch of a channel for people who care about the world around them.”’
Here are the network’s descriptions of series that have been greenlighted for 2013 launch:
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)
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 )
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.