Upfronts ’15: Pivot to launch weekly doc block

The Participant Media-owned net will launch a weekly documentary strand in May with Gardeners of Eden (pictured) from exec producer Kristin Davis, and is developing series with Alex Gibney and Mark Bittman.
March 12, 2015

Participant Media-owned cable network Pivot is launching a weekly documentary programming block and developing doc series with filmmaker Alex Gibney and author Mark Bittman.

The weekly documentary strand will kick off on May 6 at 9 p.m. EST with Gardeners of Eden (pictured) from executive producer and Sex in the City star Kristin Davis.

The film looks at the illegal ivory trade in Africa through the perspective of a family in Kenya that has been working to stop poachers in the bush and rescue orphan elephants, and was produced by A Village Beat and RYOT Production.

“Over the past decade, Participant Media has been a leading voice in sharing important stories through its documentary films,” said recently promoted Jennie Morris, Pivot’s EVP of acquisitions, research, and network operations, in a statement. “Pivot continues the company’s heritage with the new programming initiative that aims to share important stories affecting our planet.”

The development slate for the channel, which skews towards socially-conscious millennials, includes an untitled 30-minute investigative food series from Jigsaw Productions and executive producer Alex Gibney; an untitled project with The Daily Show comedian Wyatt Cenac that promises to cover topical issues in an unconventional format; and an untitled 30-minute investigative series about food and the economy from New York Times writer Mark Bittman and Left/Right.

Execs announced the doc-heavy slate during an upfront presentation in New York City on Thursday (March 12).

As previously reported, the network has also greenlit a documentary series from filmmaker Brian Knappenberger.

The yet-to-be-titled project from the helmer of The Internet’s Own Boy is billed as a reimagining of “investigative journalism for the digital age.” Each episode of the 10 x 30-minute series will focus on human rights activists fighting for transparency and freedom of information and use a personal point of view to tell a larger story.

Knappenberger is exec producing for Luminant Media alongside Pivot EPs Jeff Skoll and Christy Spitzer. The series will premiere in the fourth quarter.

Another new series, the All3Media America-produced Secret Lives of Americans, in which people film the moment they reveal a secret to important people in the lives, will begin airing on June 12. Eli Holzman, Stephen Lambert, and Danny Villa are exec producing for All3Media America. John Henshaw also serves as executive producer.

The channel also set a June 12 premiere date for the second season of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s variety show Hit Record On TV and will bring back the Left/Right-produced docuseries Human Resources for a second season in the summer.

The fourth season of Angry Planet, a travel series that looks at the impacts of climate change from producer Cineflix, will return on April 17.

Watch the trailer for Gardeners of Eden below:

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