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Discovery and Hasbro's Hub kids' channel gears up for launch

The Hub, a new kids' cable channel being launched by Discovery Communications and Hasbro Inc., will spend roughly $20 million to hype its Oct. 10 launch and is setting its sights on younger viewers as other kids' channels aim for teens.

Although the Hub, which will launch in about 60 million homes, is still keeping its schedule close to its vest, the network's Chief Executive Margaret Loesch, a veteran kids' television programmer, thinks there is an opening for the channel to woo kids and the advertisers trying to reach them.

"Our competition is starting to age up," Loesch said at the Television Critics Assn.'s summer press tour  in Los Angeles. The Hub will focus primarily on viewers in the 6-to-12 age range.

Established networks, particularly Disney XD and Cartoon Network, have been going after slightly older teens and often focus their efforts on boys versus girls. Nickelodeon, the reigning kids' channel, and Disney Channel are also becoming more known for shows that appeal to teens and tweens.  

Even if there is an opening to snag younger viewers, the Hub will face an uphill battle. Though 60 million homes is a solid start, it will still trail other kids' channels in reach and it will take several years to find parity in reach.

With Hasbro as a partner, there has been some concern from advocacy groups that the channel will be more interested in promoting toys than enlightening and entertaining kids. Loesch said about 25% of the cable channel's programming will be tied to Hasbro, including "Transformers Prime," a series based on the company's highly successful characters, and a game show version of "Clue."

However, the Hub will also have other original and acquired content, including "Pound Puppies," a cartoon that features the voices of Betty White and Eric McCormack. It will also have a game show block on Friday nights aimed at families.

In an interview, Loesch said that so far she has not heard grumbling about the concerns of advocacy groups from the media rather than the groups themselves, but she is aware that the channel will be under a microscope when it launches later this year.

"We're being so careful about content, I'm hoping we'll side-step any brouhaha," she said.

Hoping to appeal more to parents and kids, the Hub will not carry a full advertising load in much of its programming. Although federal regulations limit the amount of advertising in programming aimed at kids to 10.5 minutes an hour on weekends and 12 minutes an hour on weekdays, shows on the Hub that are aimed at preschoolers will carry just six minutes of local and national advertising. Shows that are geared to young children will also have fewer commercials than allowed by the Federal Communications Commission.

On the advertising front, Loesch said only one major toy manufacturer has steered clear of the Hub because of its ties to Hasbro. She declined to say which advertiser, but people familiar with the situation say Hasbro rival Mattel has not exactly been rushing out to buy time on the Hub.

Interestingly, the Hub is selling advertising time to other kids' channels, but has not been able to buy commercials on its rivals. Loesch said the network will buy local commercials on cable systems carrying Nickelodeon, Cartoon and other kids' channels to promote itself.

The Hub has also bought a few reruns, including sitcoms "The Wonder Years" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." That  strategy was embraced by Nickelodeon's Nick at Nite, which in its early days featured reruns of classic sitcoms. Loesch said she is not trying to duplicate Nick at Nite but is  looking to find popular reruns that kids and parents can watch together.

-- Joe Flint
 
Comments () | Archives (22)

I'm looking forward to the Hub's launch. I've worked with Margaret Loesch and she's really cares about kids' programming. Less commercials should be a big plus to parents and kids alike. Good luck Hub!

Oh. My. Gosh.


I don't give a crap about My Little Pony and Transformers! Someone, ANYONE, PLEASE tell me if they're still showing Time Warp Trio!!! If not, I am SOOOO forever going to HATE Discorvery Network. You hear this, Discovery Channel?


If I do not get Time Warp Trio after 10-10-10, I will forever hate you!!!!! Go on YouTube! On Wikipedia! They'll all tell you the same thing; ONLY DISCOVERY KIDS SHOWS TIME WARP TRIO!!!!!


P.S I am SOOOO telling Jon Scieszka on you! (FYI, he's the genius that wrote the origianal books.)

What a waste to the minds of our children!!! Why not continue to be the exception to the daily dwaddle to children's programming. Discovery Kids was an excellent resource to give children fun, knowledge and adventure; they so desperately need. Our children do not need any more cartoon-programming with so little substance or family show reruns that I can buy at the store? I can get that on any other children's channel. What makes Hub any different? What a BIG marketing mistake!!! My children are very sad and disappointed with your New Hub programming. They will miss all their favorites like Bindi, the Jungle Girl, Boom,Bang and Splat, or Trailblazers, etc.

I'm only 13, but I'm sure if I had children of my own, I would say the same thing! I mean, COME ON! Transformers? Really? Last time I saw Transformers on the TV guild, they were on CARTOON NETWORK at 5:30 in the morning. Discovery Network, prepare for thosands of parents to forever hate you. I swear, the only reason I would ever watch their channels again is for Myth Busters.


I am SOOOO ticked about losing Time Warp Trio. But I will also really miss Growing Up Creepie, Dinosapien, The Future is Wild, and Strange Days at Blake-Holsey High. Tutinstein and Kenny the Shark, however, I will be GLAD to see go.


P.S. To L Rodriguez: You said that your kids will miss out on Bindi the Jungle Girl, Boom Bang Splat, and Timeblazers. Any info on other shows that they are canceling?

REF: Ghostie Girl,

Not sure of all the programming changes, but it doesn't look good for Time Warp Trio. Another favorite of my children. Hub programming seems REAL quiet about it. All the commercials show a bunch of mindless cartoons. My children have outgrown all those shows that add very little value to their education. Hasbro is supposed to be targeting ages 6-12. I do not think these executives know, that kids in this age group need adventure and substance in their viewing. Kids at this age are WAY BEYOND "My Little Pony" and "Transformers". Children demand value just like adults do to their viewing time. At least, mine do. Discovery Kids has been a resource that my family has used as a supplement to their homeschool curriculum for years. It will be sad to see another quality children's channel turn into drivel.

My son and I recently started watching Discovery Kids and it was a refreshing change from the other channels. Time Warp Trio is his favorite as well. He also enjoys Dinosapien, Grossology, and Growing Up Creepy. Why would they have as many commercials promoting other toy brands. Their programming is a 30 minute commercial for their products. Way to look out for the kiddos.

I am glad they are coming out with new my little ponies and transformer cartoons! But sad they are not on a basic channel that everyone has already. If it's replacing DKids, then that channel is on another tier of channels that I have to pay extra for, which is not a good move in a bad time of our economy. Guess I will be watching for the NEW episodes to be posted on the internet so I can watch them. Maybe they will release these new eps to DVD video...

I just found out about this. The DK channel is one of the few I will let my 8 yo daughter watch unattended (I will not allow her to watch Nick or Disney). I agree, the line up shows appear to be PURE drivel. She will not be allowed to watch Hub. Do I really need to become one of those parents who do not allow their children to watch TV at all?

Educated parents educate themselves about the shows they let their children watch. Educated parents also have pretty fat wallets. Maybe you need to think about tapping the the right advertisers rather than going after the shows that have established advertising.

And "Kayte", are you Loesch's personal assistant or someone hired by Hub's publicist to post a ridiculously meaningless comment? I don't care what you think Kayte, I care about what my child watches on TV.

I UNDERSTAND MOST CARTOONS NOW A DAYS ARE A WASTE OF BRAIN CELLS FOR CHILDREN TO WATCH LIKE "FAIRLY-ODD PARENTS", BUT THAT DOESNT MEAN ALL CARTOONS HAVE LOST THEIR SUBSTANCE LIKE CARTOON NETWORKS "GENERATOR REX". IT SHOWS THE BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, THIS KIND OF SHOW DOESNT TEACH VIOLENCE, BUT THAT KIDS NEED TO HAVE A IMAGINATION NOT JUST EDUCATION. EDUCATIONAL SHOWS LIKE ON THE ORIGINAL DISCOVERY KIDS CHANNEL WERE GOOD FOR CHILDREN BUT NOT ALWAYS, DO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO BE BORING. ALSO REX BEING A HERO IN THE SHOW TEACHES KIDS TO HELP OTHERS AND BE THE BEST PERSON THEY CAN BE. SO I RATHER ENJOY HUB'S DIRECTION BY PUTTING SHOWS LIKE "TRANSFORMERS" ON IT AND I LIKE THE IDEA OF THEM GAINING RERUN SHOWS BECAUSE FROM A COMMERCIAL I SAW THERE GOING TO HAVE THE AWESOME CLASSIC BATMAN BEYOND SHOW ON IT. THIS CHANNEL SOUNDS LIKE A COOL FRESH CHANNEL AND TO MOST OF YOU COMPARING TRANSFORMERS TO STUPID MY LITTLE PONY YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE TRANSFORMERS IS A 25 YEAR RUNNING FRANCHISE LIKED BY PEOPLE OF ALL AGES NOT JUST LITTLE KIDS YOUNGER THAN SIX YEARS OLD. TRANSFORMERS ALSO INSPIRED ME TO BE A CARTOONIST SINCE I WAS A CHILD. ROCK ON CHANNEL HUB GOOD LUCK.

This is ridiculous. I cannot believe we go from something good to this crap. I love gi Joe, transformer, and all those cool cartoon, but they belong on cartoon network. With education dwindling in the us we go ahead and try to make our kids dumber. Wtg hasbro and discovery network, you dropped the ball on this. I know it's business as usual, but not at the expense of our children's education.

The main reason I enjoyed Discovery Kids was because it was educational. The new hub network is useless junk. Why would you get rid of valuable educational programming for My Little Pony,Wth! Doogie Howsar? Really? DK is about to loose viewers. Starting with me!

I think that having cartoons, such as Pound Puppies and My Little Pony, that I don't mind my child watching is a good thing. I don't allow my children to watch many of the cartoons on the other networks. Johnny Test, Fairly Oddparents, and most of the other "children's programming" on TV today is simply too crass for me to allow them to watch it. My youngest daughter loves cartoons, and will watch PBS Kids or Kenny the Shark every time I allow her to watch TV. She doesn't like "real TV" as she calls it. While the two older children love iCarly, Wizards of Waverley Place, etc., she's largely left out. So, the new hub channel will be enjoyable for her, but the two older ones are ANGRY to lose the only two cartoons they care for, Growing up Creepie and Grossology. I wish hub had decided to replace the re-runs of sitcoms at night with something for an older crowd, like Creepie or Grossology.

All of my son's favorite shows are gone? Really? DK just turned into the Hub this morning, and I am on here, looking for what's become of Crash Bang Splat, Timeblazers, Time Warp Trio, etc. For days, my children have been dreading the coming of the Hub, but I didn't quite know why. I thought their favorite shows would still be there! Now it's just another cartoon channel. We're really sad here...Please somebody, tell me these shows can still be found...

My daughter is very upset that her favorite shows are not on the schedule at the new hub channel. DK was my kids and my favorite channel. Time Warp Trio is the only show, due to its educational aspects, that I let my 9 and 11 year olds watch during the school week. My 11yr old is crying and feeling like she is being punished. She said she will never watch HUB or any discovery channels until the great lineup of Time Warp Trio, The Future is Wild, Grossology and Growing up Creepy is brought back. I think Discovery has made a big mistake.with HUB!

Well, after one day, The Hub will be joining the list of banned channels.

Discovery Kids was great: lots of learning, lots of information...in really fun formats.

The Hub is more mindless drivel available on any number of channels.

You can almost feel your IQ points dropping as you watch.

Truly sad.

I am so disappointed and angered by the "dumming down" of HUB's programming. DK was one of the bright spots in TV land, offering intelligent programming for children. My children loved it ...now instead they are showing more drivel like Strawberry Shortcake and Transformers. We already have enough "cartoon" channels...I am upset that intelligent and educational programs such as Crash Bang Splat are gone from the now lifeless lineup. DO SOMETHING NOW TO CHANGE this horrible disaster of a channel called HUB.

I am sad that a channel supposedly geared towards children and discovery of learning new things has lowered it's standards to this. My children are upset at the loss of their shows and not interested in replacements. As a mother involved in home schooling groups I know all of us as parents will not be allowing the new Hub to be part of our children's viewing. Sadly disappointed.

Hello everyone! Sorry I've been soooo busy. But guess what?My mom e-mailed Discovery Chanle (this was on 10/8)and they replied that they were continuing lots of their programs on Hub. LIES!!!


They basicly told my mom that they "appreciated her comcern" and "were happy to hear her feedback". They included a list of shows they are supposedly keeping. When I saw that all my favorites (as listed on my previous posts) were on the list, I WAS SO HAPPY!!! But then I looked over it again. It's just a list of their shows! They included EVERY SINGLE SHOW!!! IMPOSSIBLE!!!!! The inconsiderate jerks! They just sent over the standard "Let's quickly shut this idiot up" letter!


But here's where it gets even worse: I searched Time Warp Trio on the Cox TV guide, just to see if they were totally lying; they weren't. Oh yes, they are still showing it... AT 4 AM IN THE MORNING!!! What kid is going to wake up that early to watch TV? And what decent parent would let them, concidering all the horrible shows on at that hour! Yikes!

I watched the Hub Channel and was please with the good oldies tv shows. But when it came down to the cartoons how dare they change what was already good to trash! Just leave Stawberry Shortcake, G.I. Joe, and Transformers the good old fashion way they were. My children love the old ones from the internet not the new way they look. Bad move on Hubs part in my opinion go old all the way

Like, wtf? I am so mad at Discovery right now! They took away teh most perfect channel ever! I used to watch Grossology everyday! It was my favorite show ever!

I got up at 4:30 AM (Central Time) on October 10, 2010 just to see the final airing of Grossology and Growing Up Creepie! And I tried to watch teh first two shows on the Hub right after the final marathon of Kenny the Shark and my heart dropped. I am peeved off!

I mean, I like Atomic Betty, Happy Days, and Doogie Howser M.D. but the others? GET RID OF 'EM!

If you want, you can contact the Hub and if a lot of us ban together a lot then we can bring back DK! We absolutely have to do something! I've already told the people who work on teh show Grossology about it....like that matters, buuutt....

Just go to: http://www.hubworld.com/contact-us

And then let them know how you feel. Even though I doubt it's gonna work..... But, we have to do SOMETHING, tight?

And if anyone working for DK or the Hub is reading this, CRAP YOU! YOU GUYS BROKE MY HEART!! STUPID LOOOSERS! GET A LIFE AND RUIN SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE!!!

hi there,

I have a great idea for one of the cartoons on the hub. If you could email me, I could tell and show you all about it.

I don't really care about the kids programming. I am not a kid and don't have any. But I like the fact that they have acquired some of the older shows, such as
"Batman" with Adam West, "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley" in addition to others. They are doing what Nick at Nite and TV Land where created to do but lost their focus somewhere along the way: show classic TV shows. I hope they don't go the way that Nick at Nite and TV Land did. Keep showing the classic TV shows in the evening and kids shows the rest of the day.


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