• News

Participant Media Announces Television Marketing, Programming And Business Affairs Executives To Spearhead Summer 2013 Launch Of To-Be-Named Cable Network Targeting Millennials

Los Angeles, CA – January 8, 2013 –Participant Media today announced the team of executives in the areas of television programming, marketing and business affairs who will spearhead the summer 2013 launch of a new, to-be-named cable network targeting millennials. Kent Rees has been named Executive Vice President, Marketing, Scheduling & Operations; Belisa Balaban, Senior Vice President, Unscripted Programming and Ben McLean, Senior Vice President, Business Affairs. All will be based at Participant’s Los Angeles offices. Rees and Balaban will report to Evan Shapiro, President, Participant Television. McLean will report to both Shapiro and Participant Media COO Jeff Ivers.

Shapiro said: “We are fortunate to have such talent and vision on the team as we build to our launch next summer. As we work to create a next generation TV experience, we sought out the next generation of industry leadership. That is what we get with this team.” He added: “Kent has TV in his DNA and is a consummate brand builder and brings the operation acumen needed to create a multi-platform television experience; Belisa is a talented and passionate storyteller and award winning producer with a proven track record for using the media to inspire change; and Ben is one of the brightest business and legal minds around, with experience and insight across all television platforms, both here and abroad.”

Rees, who will be responsible for creating marketing strategies and operations for both Participant Television and TakePart TV (Participant’s recently launched impact focused YouTube Channel), joins Participant from Bedrocket Media Ventures where as Head of Marketing, he spearheaded three “Made For Web” channel launches on YouTube. Prior to that, Rees was EVP, Marketing for Current TV, where he oversaw the marketing and was responsible for the network’s on-air promotion and brand personality. Before Current, Rees worked at IFC TV, where he rose from Creative Director to Senior Vice President, Marketing. His oversight included managing the IFC brand across all platforms and he was the chief architect behind the network’s “Always On. Slightly Off” rebranding in 2010.

Belisa Balaban, responsible for spearheading production, development and talent deals for Participant Television’s unscripted and semi-scripted content, is a highly-regarded, Emmy and Grammy nominated producer who has created multiple socially relevant TV projects over the years, including “The Swell Life,” a 10-episode documentary series following the Paskowitz family raising their child with autism. Earlier in 2012, she developed and produced the Emmy-nominated special,” It Gets Better,” inspired by the anti-bullying project for LGBT youth, which aired on MTV and Logo. 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, and the recent Grammy nominee “From the Sky Down” about the making of U2’s Achtung Baby. Prior to that Belisa 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. Her previous work includes a stint in Comedy and Alternative programming at WB where as an executive she was involved with a wide range of projects including “Strangers with Candy” and “The Upright Citizens Brigade.”

Ben McLean, Participant Television’s Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs and Business Development, will oversee legal support and developing business opportunities for the company’s television division. McLean was previously at Netflix, where he helped direct the company’s legal efforts for their recent video streaming service launches in the UK and Scandinavia. Prior to Netflix, he worked for five years in a variety of business affairs positions at AMC Networks and Sundance Channel. McLean began his legal career at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York, after first serving as a Human Rights Legal Consultant for UNICEF in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

About Participant Media

Participant Media  is an entertainment company that focuses on documentary and non-documentary feature films, television, publishing and digital content about the real issues that shape our lives. For each of its projects, Participant creates social action and advocacy programs to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Participant’s online division and Social Action Network is TakePart. Founded by Jeff Skoll in 2004, Jim Berk serves as CEO. Participant’s films include The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson’s War, An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night, and Good Luck, The Visitor, Food, Inc., The Cove, The Crazies, Countdown to Zero, Waiting for “Superman,” Fair Game, PAGE ONE: Inside The New York Times, The Help, Contagion, Last Call at the Oasis,The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln and Promised Land.