Numerous journos pelted network prez Evan Shapiro with questions about similarities between the soon-to-be-launched Pivot and now-defunct Current TV, which Al Gore launched in 2005 as a news net geared towards the 18-34-year-old crowd. Current failed to gain ground in ratings, and was acquired by Al Jazeera earlier this year.
“It’s like the difference between a grape and a watermelon,” Shapiro succinctly said. “We’re a general entertainment network. We start with entertainment, and then hope to spark conversation and inspire action. Last time I checked, I don’t think Current had a scripted comedy, or a musical variety show.”
Pivot’s brand motto is to lean into the evolving media landscape, and the net will embody this message as it rolls out programming both linearly on-air, and in binge-worthy, complete chunks as Netflix does online. Auds will be able to choose where they watch content — online or on TV — and how much they watch at a time.
“20th century media was very much a monologue, and there was a clique of an industry that would broadcast what it made, and everyone else would have to sit down and listen,” remarked Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose show, “HitRECord,” is part of Pivot’s lineup. “That’s not what’s happening anymore. Taking that progress and technology and applying it to the process creates a whole different playground. I think Pivot is more than any other TV network tapping into the changes that are happening.”
Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, also weighed in on the Current comparisons.
“Current would never have hired me, since I’m a Republican,” stated McCain, who also remarked that she’s “too liberal for Fox News” and “too conservative for MSNBC.” “My biggest thought regarding the threat to today’s youth in America is the polarization of American politics. … When I was growing up, MTV News inspired my life in a loud and proud way, and that doesn’t exist anymore… I came to Pivot because I think there needs to be a middle ground between the Kardashians and C-SPAN.”
Another journalist brought up music net Fuse, which also targets the 18-34 demo. Shapiro responded broadly, “This generation is 100 million strong, so to think that any one cable network can serve them is folly.”