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Participant to close Pivot

Sky and Pivot TV's big-budget drama Fortitude

Sky and Pivot TV’s big-budget drama Fortitude

Participant Media has announced plans to shut down its US cablenet Pivot just three years after the youth-skewing channel’s launch.

The closure of the network, planned later this year, puts the future of a number of series, including future seasons of recently renewed Australian comedy Please Like Me, in doubt.

Pivot launched with a focus on attracting millennials with entertaining and informative programming that could inspire action or change.

However, the channel admitted it has struggled to compete in the market for a number of reasons, citing consolidation amongst the largest cable TV distributors, increasing programming costs and the rise of online video.

Among the original programming it produced is high-end drama Fortitude, coproduced with European pay TV network Sky; Hit Record on TV, created by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Human Resources, which follows a company that aims to eliminate waste; and improvisational musical comedy Freestyle Love Supreme.

Participant said it would now be focusing investment on content creation and social impact, rather than operating a cable channel.

“As the media landscape changes, we have been evaluating how we fulfil our mission to entertain and inspire social action around the world’s most pressing issues. That process has led us to the decision to move away from owning and operating a cable network,” said Participant CEO David Linde.

Please Like Me

Please Like Me

“While this conclusion was not an easy one, it is ultimately in the best interest of all our stakeholders, and allows us to allocate more resources toward the production of compelling content across all platforms.”

The decision leaves uncertainty hanging over a number of series and coproductions. Participant Media and the producers are seeking a new US home for the LGBT-themed Australian comedy/drama Please Like Me.

Written, created by and starring Josh Thomas and produced by Pigeon Fancier and John & Josh International, shooting of the 6×30’ fourth season wrapped in Melbourne two weeks ago and the series is now in post-production.

The plot follows Josh, who is gay, and his dysfunctional family and friends, with a regular cast comprising Thomas Ward, Hannah Gadsby, Debra Lawrance, David Roberts, Caitlin Stasey, Emily Barclay, Keegan Joyce and Renee Lim. The show is coproduced with the ABC.

Executive producer Kevin Whyte told C21: “We are confident we will find a new home for the latest series of Please Like Me and we are working through that process with our partners at Participant Media.”

The new series will premiere on the ABC in November. The producers also said the closure of Pivot does not preclude Participant from investing in further seasons.

The show’s international distributor, the UK’s Avalon International, recently sold the show to Amazon Prime in the UK after earlier deals for multiple markets including Canada, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Israel, France and Finland. Hulu bought US streaming rights to the first three seasons.



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