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New cable TV network for millennials plans launch in mid-2013

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press

Also, new crystals will sparkle during ball drop on New Year's Eve in the Big Apple.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 12:01 am

NEW YORK — Participant Media plans to launch a cable network aimed at viewers 18 to 34 years old with programming it describes as inspiring and thought-provoking.

The as-yet-unnamed network is set to start next summer, the company announced Monday. It has acquired The Documentary Channel as well as the distribution assets of The Inspiration Network, giving it an initial reach of 40 million cable subscribers.

Targeting so-called millennials — which the company calls “the next greatest generation” — it is developing a program slate with such producers as Brian Graden, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim, and Brian Henson of The Jim Henson Company.

Evan Shapiro, who joined Participant last spring after serving as President of IFC and Sundance Channel, will head the new network. He has executive produced such documentaries and series as “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” and the Peabody Award-winning “Brick City” and “Portlandia.”

“The concept is to accept all genres as long as they meet the mission of entertainment that inspires social change, and tickles the fancy of this target audience,” Shapiro said.

Privately held Participant Media has produced more than 40 fiction and nonfiction films the past decade including “The Help,” “Charlie Wilson's War,” “Food, Inc.,” “An Inconvenient Truth” and Steven Spielberg's current biopic “Lincoln.”

New ball for New Year’s

NEW YORK — The Waterford crystal ball that will drop in Times Square to usher in 2013 will have 288 new crystal panels with doves chiseled into them to mark the theme “Let There Be Peace.”

The triangular panels replace 288 old ones on the 2,668-panel ball.

The Irish crystal company says organizers are doing something special this year: People are invited to send in their personal messages of peace via social media. Some messages will be read during a live webcast. The rest will be posted on the Internet.

More than 1 billion people are expected to see the New Year's Eve festivities in telecasts and newscasts.

Ryan Seacrest will host the countdown to midnight, with musical guests including Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Neon Trees, Flo Rida and Pitbull.