When Evan Shapiro stepped up to the podium on Friday (July 26) at the Summer 2013 TCA Press Day to present the brand-new Pivot Network, he had to know the biggest question reporters would be hurling his way: Just how is this network, aimed to bring content to millennials in the way they’re demanding, any different from the now-defunct Current?
The first time the question was lobbed at Shapiro, he quickly dismissed any comparisons by saying, “Last time I checked, I don’t think Current had a scripted comedy or a variety show, so I think there’s a lot of difference from Current.”
He’s not wrong. When the network launches on Aug. 1, it will air scripted series “Please Like Me,” inspired by awkward events in critically-acclaimed Australian comedian Josh Thomas‘ life, and “HitRECord on TV!,” a re-imagination of the variety show from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, amongst its more news-based fare, “TakePart Live,” a nightly topical news series, and “Raising McCain,” a docu-talk series starring Meghan McCain that will aim to tackle what McCain perceives to be with her generation cares about most.
The brief answer wasn’t enough to satisfy the room of cynical reporters, however. Shapiro was pressed anew to highlight the differences between the networks, leading him to offer, “It’s like of like the difference between a grape and a watermelon. It’s everything … We’re a general entertainment network.”
McCain jumped to the aid of her new boss, adding, “Current would’ve never hired me. I’m a Republican, they never would’ve hired me.”
When asked why even bother to create a new television network if the millennial demographic doesn’t watch traditionally anymore and the majority of the talent creating content came from the Internet anyway, Shapiro counters, “I believe in the power of ‘and’ … The industry seems going blind in a sort of [binary way.] It’s either online or it’s on TV.”
He adds, “The reality of it is that young people, people in this age group — I don’t know how many millennial channels had millennials on their panels, but we did that — they’re pluralistic in their viewing habits. They will watch on television, they will watch online, they will watch on the iPhone — they will watch anything as long as it’s convenient and fits their lifestyle. The future of television is every platform, not one platform … so for people who like to watch on television, we will allow them that. For people who want to watch on their iPad, we will allow them that.”
Pivot goes live August 1.