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Participant Media Announces New Programming and Unscripted Development in 2016 for Pivot

Los Angeles, CA – December 17, 2015 – Participant Media announced today a January 22 premiere date for Pivot’s new Brian Knappenberger (The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz) executive-produced docu-series “Truth and Power.” The channel also announced that Oscar®-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Honorable Woman,” The Dark Knight) will narrate the ten-part series. Additionally, Pivot greenlit a twenty episode season two of “Secret Lives of Americans,” a third season of “Human Resources,” and announced four unscripted projects in development. Scripted development will be announced in early 2016.

“Truth and Power,” which will air Fridays at 10 pm ET, centers on the very timely question, “What happens when private institutions and governments abuse their power and break the public trust?” Each half hour-long episode pulls the curtain back on stories of ordinary people going to extraordinary lengths to reveal corporate exploitation and infringement on civil liberties resulting from government overreach. Certain authorities and organizations are attempting to silence dissent and hinder 21st century social movements in ways that directly threaten democracy.

“I am excited to work with Brian and Pivot on an important series that uncovers how far some of our most powerful institutions will go to suppress our civil liberties,” said actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. “Privacy and free expression are foundations of democracy and they are being eroded by governments and private businesses around the globe.”

Using probing interviews, original footage, and newly unearthed documents, “Truth and Power” unpacks the timely issues of security, surveillance and profiteering in the digital age. 

Participant Media will support this series with social impact opportunities for viewers to take action around issues within the show, such as: digital privacy, racial inequality and governmental overreach among others. “Truth and Power” is executive produced by Brian Knappenberger for Luminant Media. Jeff Skoll and Belisa Balaban serve as executive producers for Pivot.

Additionally, Participant Media reinforced its commitment to original content by greenlighting a 20 episode second season of “Secret Lives of Americans,” a third season of “Human Resources,” and announcing four new unscripted projects in development at Pivot.  The 20-episode second season order for “Secret Lives of Americans,” is a first for the network in terms of the number of episodes of a single season of original programming produced.  The new seasons of “Secret Lives of Americans” and “Human Resources” are slated to air in 2016.

“From addressing the issue of campaign finance reform to reporting on the #BlackLivesMatter movement to supporting programming designed to inform viewers on how to protect our delicate ecosystem, our 2016 original series and development slate reinforces Participant’s goal to inspire our viewer, the conscious consumer, to take action and create positive social change” stated Kent Rees, General Manager, Pivot. “Also we could not be more thrilled to have Maggie lend her voice to ‘Truth and Power,’ a series which strikes at the heart of civil liberties questions in the digital age.” 

“Secret Lives of Americans” provides a platform for the series’ participants to reveal a personal long-held secret. The second season of the series is executive produced by Greg Lipstone, Stephen Lambert, Leah Hariton, and Danny Villa for MME/Filmpool USA and All3Media America. John Henshaw also serves as executive producer. Jeff Skoll and Christy Spitzer serve as executive producers for Pivot.

“Human Resources,” the popular, critically-acclaimed docu-series that follows the eclectic employees of recycling company, TerraCycle, will return for a third season in 2016. The series is executive produced by Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, and Anneka Jones for Left/Right. Jeff Skoll and Lyle Gamm serve as executive producers for Pivot.

Unscripted development projects for Pivot include:

Downriver (w/t)

Producer: AMPLE

(:30 docu-series)

“Downriver” gives an insider look at the city government of Ecorse, MI – aka Downriver – as they struggle with the issues of crime and municipal finance. To turn their city around, the people of Ecorse will try anything, no matter how creative or experimental, including, having their police force double as firemen. Embeded with city police officers, public servants, and business owners, the series aims to tell a mosaic of stories that shines a light on the plight of small town America via a 2.5 square mile town.  Ari Mark and Phil Lott serve as executive producers for AMPLE.

Snap Judgment (w/t)

Producer: Den of Thieves and Snap Judgment, LLC

(:30 unscripted series)

Based on the popular NPR / WNYC radio show and podcast hosted by Glynn Washington, “Snap Judgment“ explores the societal fault lines of race, class, and culture through personal storytelling. Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager serve as executive producers for Den of Thieves.  Glynn Washington and Mark Ristich serve as executive producers for Snap Judgment, LLC.   

Killer Meals (w/t)

Producer: FishBowl Worldwide Media

(:30 docu-series)

Invasive species, animals that overrun their ecosystems, can become a huge problem in that they take over the delicate food balance in places as diverse as southern bayous to the Great Plains to our own backyards. The dangerous increase in the invasive species population is contributing to killing off essential food supplies that wildlife and humans count on to survive. Bun Lai, an adventurer, scientist and James Beard-nominated chef has devoted his life to eliminating these species by turning them into a profitable food source. In  “Killer Meals,” Lai will be paired with MIT-trained environmental scientist and invasive species hunter, Dylan Bruno, to travel into the great unknown to help bring balance to our nation’s ecosystems. Vin Di Bona serves as executive producer for FishBowl. Bun Lai and Dylan Bruno also serve as executive producers.

Pandemic X (w/t)

Producer: Sirens Media

(:30 docu-series)

“Pandemic X” is an investigative series that follows renowned former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemic intelligence service officer, epidemiologist and journalist, Dr. Seema Yasmin, as she dives into the front lines of the world’s medical crises, hunting down the causes of the most violent and infectious diseases, viruses and outbreaks on the planet.  Brent Montgomery, Rebecca Toth Diefenbach, and Valerie Haselton serve as executive producers for Sirens Media.


About Participant Media

Participant Media (http://www.participantmedia.com/) is a leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for viewers to get involved. Participant’s more than 70 films include Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc., and An Inconvenient Truth. Participant has also launched more than a dozen original series, including “Please Like Me,” “Hit Record On TV with Joseph Gordon-Levitt,” and “Fortitude,” for its television network, Pivot (http://www.pivot.tv/). Participant’s digital hub, TakePart (http://www.TakePart.com), serves millions of socially conscious consumers each month with daily articles, videos and opportunities to take action. Follow Participant Media on Twitte