Participant announced the shuffle on Monday, saying Shapiro had left the company. Just last week, Rees was named by Variety as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders, highlighting him as a young exec to watch. He was previously Pivot’s exec VP of marketing and scheduling.
“Pivot is a growing network with a strong pipeline of original content and has expanded carriage to over 47 million homes. During this time, Kent played an integral role in establishing the Pivot brand and managing overall channel operations. He and his management team are well positioned to further the network’s reach and impact. We thank Evan for helping to build Pivot into the successful network that it is today,” said Participant Media CEO Jim Berk.
Shapiro is a cable vet who joined Particpant in 2012 and steered the launch of Pivot, which went on air in August 2013. He came to Participant as president of Pivot after running IFC and Sundance Channel. After the news of Rees’ promotion broke, Shapiro sent a goodbye Tweet. He’s said to be in discussions with prospective partners on his next move.
As an indie startup, Pivot faces an uphill climb in drawing audiences and gaining distribution. At present the channel is available in about 47 million households. It has gradually added more original programming to the mix, including the comedy “Please Like Me” and docu-series “Human Resources.” The channel is set to launch its first drama series, “Fortitude,” in January.
In keeping with Participant Media’s mission, Pivot aims to put the spotlight on social issues and spur young adults to action through its nightly news roundtable program “TakePartLive.”
Rees worked at Current TV as exec VP of marketing before joining Pivot in 2012. He previously worked with Shapiro as a marketing exec at IFC.
“I’m tremendously proud of what we’ve accomplished at Pivot since launching the network a little over a year ago,” Rees said. “We exist because of (Participant founder) Jeff Skoll’s vision that a story well told can change the world, and bringing that to TV is a unique opportunity. As general manager, I want to continue the network’s momentum in demonstrating that what you watch does make a difference.”