TV Upfront

Pivot Upfront: Greenlights Drama With Climate-Change at Core

Fledgling Network Heads Into Second Upfront

By Published on .

One year after Participant Media announced the creation of Pivot, a cable network designed to attract millennials through socially-conscious programming, the channel is heading into its second upfront with over 300 hours of original programming.

The network said it had greenlit a new scripted drama, announced a revamp of its talk show "TakePart Live" and introduced a new research in conjunction with Nielsen.

"TakePart Live," a late-night talk show encouraging viewers to play a part in social issues, will return May 12 at 10 p.m. and, as previously announced, will be hosted by Meghan McCain, Jacob Soboroff and Eddie Huang. Ms. McCain previously hosted "Raising McCain" on the network, but the show was canceled in January.

"Fortitude" will be Pivot's first scripted series after it put "Will," a scripted period series about a young William Shakespeare, on the back-burner. "Fortitude," which at the heart is about climate change, stars Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon, and is produced in partnership with Sky Vision.

Other new shows include "Welcome to Fairfax," a behind-the-scenes look at the artistic community that has emerged in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles; "Human Resources," which follows a New Jersey-based company whose mission is to eliminate waste on a global scale; and "Freestyle Love Supreme," a series of ten half-hour original episodes that take viewers to live improv shows.

Pivot will also bring back the quirky comedy "Please Like Me" for a second season.

The network previously announced it will air the Peabody Awards in May.

The network has 11 series in development, including: "Laughing Matters," a comedy improv competition; cartoon "Leader Town"; and "Thirst," a family drama surrounding the discovery of fresh water in a dying New Mexico town.

Pivot chief Evan Shapiro introduced a study the network conducted with Nielsen on millennials, which he said revealed that the generation is highly engaged in social causes. Of these, Mr. Shapiro noted 35% -- or 28 million --are passionate about 13 or more social causes. He called these people "upstanders" and said this group is at the heart of Pivot's target audience. The network set up a Tumblr page,, to house the research.

Absent from the presentation was perhaps Pivot's biggest name, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose variety show "HitRecord on TV" has become somewhat of the face of the channel.

Mr. Shapiro talked about the network's deal with Univision, where the two will produce and air documentaries in Spanish and English, which was announced at last year's presentation. The first of these films, "Cesar's Last Fast," is slated to air in May.

The network is in 45 million homes but is not yet rated by Nielsen.

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