Participant Media network names unscripted programming SVP

The newly announced, as-yet-unnamed Participant Media television network has named a number of executives to its top posts, including Belisa Balaban (pictured) as the SVP of unscripted programming.
January 9, 2013

The newly announced and as-yet-unnamed Participant Media television network has named a number of executives to its top posts, including Belisa Balaban as the SVP of unscripted programming.

Reporting to Evan Shapiro, president of Participant Television, Balaban (pictured) will be tasked with spearheading the production, development and talent deals for the upcoming network’s unscripted and semi-scripted content.

Balaban is an Emmy- and Grammy-nominated producer, whose credits include The Swell Life, It Gets Better, Tabloid Wars, and Military Diaries.  She also served as an executive at WB and Comedy Central, working in comedy and alternative programming.

Balaban will be appearing on a panel at the upcoming Realscreen Summit, Amping Up Unscripted, which looks at emerging networks and other networks that are adding more unscripted/non-fiction programming to their schedules.

Also reporting to Shapiro is Kent Rees, who has been named EVP of marketing, scheduling and operations. He will be responsible for creating marketing strategies and operations for the Participant Television network and the company’s YouTube channel, TakePart TV. He was previously head of marketing at Bedrocket Media Ventures, and prior to that held roles at Current TV and IFC TV.

Ben McLean has been named SVP, legal affairs and business development, and he will report to Shapiro and Participant Media COO Jeff Ivers. He was previously at Netflix, and also worked in a number of business affairs positions for AMC Networks and Sundance Channel.

All of the new hires will be based in Participant’s LA office.

“We are fortunate to have such talent and vision on the team as we build to our launch next summer,” said Shapiro. “As we work to create a next generation TV experience, we sought out the next generation of industry leadership.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.