Participant Media Starts TV Division, Taps Evan Shapiro to Lead

Former IFC and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro will bring Participant’s socially conscious sensibility to the small screen

Participant Media is getting into the TV game.

The entertainment company, known for such environmentally and socially conscious film offerings as "An Inconvenient Truth" and "The Cove," has launched a
new division, Participant Television, and named former IFC TV and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro as its president. Shapiro will assume the new role on May 7, reporting directly to Participant Media CEO Jim Berk.

Also read: Jeff Skoll's Participant Media: A Business, or a Hobby?

Shapiro will be responsible for the conception, development and production of "original television programming that will follow the company’s model of commercial and socially relevant entertainment," Participant said in a release.

“Expanding Participant's brand of storytelling into television is both a natural progression and integral part of our expansion strategy," Berk said of the new venture and Shapiro's hire. "Evan’s tremendous impact in transforming the IFC and Sundance networks combined with his genuine interest in socially relevant media make him the perfect choice.”

“For me, Participant’s double bottom line mission and model have always stood out on the media landscape — personally and professionally, I am driven by similar goals,” Shapiro added. “So I’m beyond excited to work with Jim and the Participant team and bring their approach and mission to a new, powerful medium."

Shapiro's varied executive-producer credits include the IFC series "Portlandia," the documentary "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," which criticized the movie ratings system, and R. Kelly's epic music video "Trapped in the Closet." His public service and educational endeavors include an eight-year stint on the board of the Ghetto Film School, and serving as chair of the 25th Anniversary Gala of the Social Ventures Network.