The on-air panel at Pivot’s “TakePart Live” is officially a trio again.
After matching regulars Meghan McCain and Jacob Soboroff with a series of guest hosts since the departure of Eddie Huang earlier this year, Pivot has enlisted Baratunde Thurston, a digital entrepreneur and author, to join the program full time. Thurston has guest-hosted several times in recent weeks, but when this evening’s episode debuts, it will mark his first official turn as a member of the team.
“I’m going to bring hot fire on occasion, and a beautiful smile,” Thurston said in an interview Wednesday. But he will also bring new perspective to the unique program, which follows Pivot’s (and owner Participant Media’s ) mission of trying to raise awareness of important issues among viewers and in doing so, spur them on to action.
McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain, and Soboroff, a founding host of HuffPost Live, have held forth regularly on”TakePart Live”, which is one of the centerpieces of the young network. Pivot launched in August, 2013, with the goal of making a connection with the nation’s burgeoning millennial audience. The show encourages guests to talk about issues and topics important to them, from Moby’s efforts to save bees, to Michele Bachmann discussing what it’s like to be a female in Congress. Guests have included everyone from RuPaul to Kermit the Frog.
Thurston, whose resume includes stints at The Onion and as the head of his own company, Cultivated Wit, said he has a number of pet issues that he would like to explore during his tenure. He is particularly interested in the long-term effects of incarceration, treatment of veterans and the new potential of technology to grant people more power to have an effect on the world that surrounds them.
He also won’t shy away from tackling hot-button issues head-on. Thurston is the author of the 2012 book “How To Be Black,” a satirical memoir that explores themes of race, democracy and politics. “I’m going to bring my interest and respect for participatory media, my smarts and funny and I’m going to bring my race, most days,” he said. Viewers who have access to the cable network, which reaches about 45 million U.S. homes, can explore what he brings to the mix starting this evening.