IFC TV and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro is leaving AMC Networks. He has been named president of Participant Television, a newly formed TV division of Participant Media. Shapiro, who will report to Participant Media CEO Jim Berk, starts May 7 and will oversee the development and production of original television programming that the company says will follow its model of commercial and socially relevant entertainment. Participant is behind 39 narrative and feature films, including Good Night, And Good Luck and Food, Inc. as well as Contagion, Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, The Help and the upcoming The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Last Call At The Oasis. “Expanding Participant’s brand of storytelling into television is both a natural progression and integral part of our expansion strategy,” Berk said. “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.” This is the first time Participant is launching a full-fledged TV division to be run by an executive at a president level. The company previously dabbled in TV with John Moser, who did a stint as SVP of TV, and Steve Tao as consultant and executive producer.
As for AMC Networks, the company is not expected to replace Shapiro, with Jennifer Caserta Priore, EVP and general manager of IFC, and Sarah Barnett, EVP and general manager of Sundance Channel, absorbing his duties. Both report to AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll. “Evan is a dedicated executive and leader and under his direction, IFC and Sundance Channel benefited greatly from his business savvy, creativity and boundless enthusiasm and energy,” AMC Networks said in a statement. “We thank him for his enormous contributions and we wish him the best in this new endeavor.” Shapiro joined IFC in 2004 as SVP Marketing. He was promoted to EVP and general manager of IFC in 2005 and to president of IFC and Sundance in 2008, following AMC Networks’ acquisition of the Sundance Channel.