Pivot said this afternoon it has greenlit The Operatives, an original series spotlighting an elite team of conservationists that takes on the world’s worst eco-offenders. The series stars Pete Bethune, who is described by Pivot as an “adventurer, author and eco-warrior.” He and his team of “extreme conservationists” travel the world to “take on and expose the offenders who are harming vulnerable wildlife, natural resources and ecosystems around the world.” In the first of eight one-hour telecasts, Bethune and his team set out to film the Namibian seal pup kill that results in the deaths of 90,000 annually, the network said. The Operatives is an acquisition from Zodiak Rights.
Additionally Pivot will debut two new half hour series on October 17: Welcome To Fairfax and Freestyle Love Supreme. Network president Evan Shapiro also announced a third-season pickup for its coming-of-age comedy Please Like Me – created, written and exec produced by 27-year-old comic Josh Thomas – in advance of its second season debut on August 8. Meanwhile, Fortitude, an original drama series about the small Arctic town of Fortitude, whose peaceful existence is shattered after a brutal murder, will debut in January 2015, Shapiro said. Stanley Tucci plays a detective who is flow in to investigate the murder. Read More »
Participant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.
Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate: Read More »
For more than a year, Belisa Balaban has been responsible for Pivot’s alternative programming including the network’s popular series HitRECord and documentary Teach. Now Participant Media’s Pivot has promoted Balaban to EVP Original Programming for the network targeting millenials. She’ll be based at Participant’s Los Angeles offices and will report to Pivot President, Evan Shapiro. Balaban’s prior projects include the 10-episode documentary series The Swell Life and the Emmy-nominated special It Gets Better. As co-founder of Snackaholic, she executive produced pilots and series, including Tabloid Wars for Bravo, and Bollywood Hero, a three-hour musical comedy for IFC, as well as the recent Grammy nominee From The Sky Down about the making of U2’s Achtung Baby. Previously Balaban oversaw and developed pilots and series for Actual Reality Pictures including, Freshman Diaries for Showtime, Military Diaries for VH1, and Thin for HBO Documentary Films.
For the first time in a decade, the Peabody Awards has a TV home. Pivot, Participant Media’s TV network targeting millennials, has signed a deal to telecast the University of Georgia’s George Foster Peabody Awards through 2016, which marks the Peabody’s 75th anniversary. Broadcasting the awards, which honor excellence in TV, radio and webcasting, is challenging since winners traditionally are announced well in advance of the trophy ceremony. This year’s winners, for instance, will be announced April 2, but the medallions will be dispensed May 19 at a luncheon ceremony at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. The 2014 Peabody Awards special, the two parties announced, will “blend highlights from the presentation ceremony with exclusive interviews with featured award winners. A date for that telecast was not announced. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Just after previewing the first three episodes of his TV series HITRECORD ON TV, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his HITRECORD exec producer Jared Geller have set a first-look deal with Participant Media and its youth-centric TV station Pivot. This comes after the show Gordon-Levitt created got an 8-episode order for a second season. The series debuted yesterday on the upstart Pivot cable channel, for which Gordon-Levitt also is a creative adviser.
Said Pivot President Evan Shapiro: “Joe is the kind of artist we envisioned when we created Pivot. He is a director, actor, writer and disruptor who understands how to use every form of media to engage our audience.”
It’s only the second time that a TV series was featured on the Sundance program, but this series is directly intertwined with the festival. I watched the first episode and noticed a stylistic symmetry to other anthology shows, most particularly Sesame Street, which Gordon-Levitt allowed was one of the references for how to string together disparate segments for a variety show that stresses global subject matter and involves a worldwide audience on the web. Perhaps that intention was best underscored with the musical number that closes the first episode, which was devoted to the word “one.” The song is grounded by Gordon-Levitt’s own musical chops — watch the trailer below and it’s understandable why he’s mentioned for Fox’s Guys and Dolls redo — but the song was a much bigger undertaking in that it features songwriting and singing from participants from all over the world. (Watch the song performance below). Read More »
Participant Media-owned Pivot – the TV network targeting the millenial (age 18-34) generation – has acquired all episodes of Fox’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Warner Bros’ Veronica Mars. The series will be joining the programming roster as a Buffy and Veronica Power Hours block, Pivot said today, featuring back-to-back episodes Mondays through Fridays at 10 PM and 11 PM beginning January 13.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which ran for seven seasons from 1997-2003, stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy. The series was created by Joss Whedon, under Mutant Enemy Productions, and later with co-executive producers Jane Espenson, David Fury, David Greenwalt, Doug Petrie, Marti Noxon and David Solomon. Veronica Mars, which aired from 2004-2007, stars Kristen Bell as a student who progresses from high school to college while moonlighting as a private investigator under the tutelage of her detective father. The Kickstarter campaign for the Veronica Mars movie raised $5.5 million from more than 90,000 contributors. The series was created by screenwriter Rob Thomas; produced by Warner Bros. Television, Silver Pictures Television, Stu Segall Productions and Rob Thomas Productions.
Pivot — the millennial-targeting network launched in August to “entertain and inspire activism” among 18- to 34-year-olds with its “completely different approach to television,” including a “very f—ed up, weird reality talk show” (said Pivot president Evan Shapiro) — today announced that the host of that very f—ed up, weird reality talk show, Meghan McCain, will interview her dad, Sen. John McCain, for the first time.
Related: TCA: Pivot Touts Programming Slate Aimed At Millennials
The interview, premiering Saturday, will feature Meghan asking Dad, among other things, how he turned “a crushing defeat into an inspiring comeback” during the ’08 presidential bid. In clips sent to the press today, Meghan also asked Dad how millennials “can overcome all the obstacles we are facing and still live a fulfilling life.” He said they need to be involved, but “it doesn’t have to be in the military,” ticking off a couple other ideas. More newsworthy, perhaps, Meghan asked Dad about his failed 2008 presidential race against now-President Obama and how he turned that concession speech — or, as Pivot at one point in its news release called it, his “confession speech” — from a “difficult moment into something that has turned out to be so beautiful.” Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The fledgling cable network Pivot — launching in a reported 40 million-plus homes next Thursday (the 32nd anniversary of the launch of MTV) — took on the difficult task of convincing a group of largely middle-aged journalists at TCA that they should take seriously a general entertainment service aimed squarely at the millennial (age 18-34) generation. Pivot certainly has ambitious plans, with a programming slate anchored by more than 300 hours of original programming for its first year. That includes an original scripted comedy (Please Like Me, created by 25-year-old comedian Josh Thomas); an original variety show (HitRECord, from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and and Brian Graden); and a docu-talk series exec produced and hosted by Meghan McCain, John McCain’s daughter.
The critics present had several questions, notably how Pivot differs from Current TV, which many pointed out launched with a similar pitch. The network’s president Evan Shapiro, vehemently disagreed with the Current comparison. “Last time I checked, Current didn’t have a scripted comedy or a music variety show,” he said. “The difference between Pivot and Current is like the difference between a crepe and a watermelon. We have comedy. We have music variety. We have talk. We have reality. We have great documentary premieres. We start with entertainment and then we hope to spark conversation and inspire action. Current had none of those things from what I recall.” Read More »
Pivot‘s live late-night talk show TakePart Live will be among the shows to kick off the cable network when it launches August 1, the Participant Media-owned outlet announced today. The network, which targets the 18-34 millennials demo, launches with 40 million-plus subscribers after it was hatched in December via Participant’s acquisitions of the Documentary Channel and the assets of Halogen TV. The lineup includes more than 300 original hours of programming, including primetime spots for the Meghan McCain docu-talk series Raising McCain (September 14), real-life docu-series Jersey Strong (September 14), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s variety show HitRecord On TV! (January 18, 2014). Here’s the lineuep with premiere dates: Read More »
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: Read More »