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Participant hires execs for new cable channel

Kent Rees, Belisa Balaban, Ben McLean come onboard

Participant Media has announced a new team of execs that will spearhead the summer launch of its yet-to-be-named cabler targeting millennials.

Kent Rees has been tapped exec VP of marketing, scheduling and operations; Belisa Balaban, senior veep of unscripted programming; and Ben McLean, senior veep of legal affairs and biz development. The trio will make Participant’s L.A. offices their home, with Rees and Balaban reporting to prexy Evan Shapiro and McLean reporting to Participant COO Jeff Ivers as well as Shapiro.

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

Rees, who will be responsible for marketing strategies, hails from Bedrocket Media Ventures — where he served as head of marketing — Current TV and IFC TV.

Joining Rees, Balaban, who will helm development and talent deals for unscripted and semi-scripted content, brings producing experience from stints at Snackaholic, where as co-founder she exec produced pilots and series, and in comedy and alternative programming at WB and Comedy Central.

Rounding out the new hires is McLean, who will oversee legal activities and develop biz opportunities for Participant’s TV division. McLean brings legal and developmental chops from stints at Netflix, AMC Networks and Sundance Channel.

The hiring of the trio follows Participant’s recent purchase of the Documentary Channel and Halogen TV. New channel will air projects from filmmakers such as Davis Guggenheim, Morgan Spurlock and Brian Henson and will aim to reach 40 million viewers with socially relevant programming that speaks to this generation and to contempo issues.

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