Brenda Andolia, brand marketing director for Mattel subsidiary
Fisher-Price, issued a similar statement. "We have met with the
Hub, as we do with all candidate media vendors, and are evaluating
the best placement options to pursue."
As the Hub goes to the upfront marketplace, it will also be selling
less commercial inventory than its competitors -- a bold move for a
new network that will launch with Nielsen ratings from day one.
Federal Communications Commission-mandated restrictions dictate
that an hour's worth of children's programming can only have 12
minutes of commercial time Monday through Friday, and 10 1/2
minutes on Saturday and Sunday. The Hub will only sell 10 1/2
minutes of ads an hour throughout the week, a tradition upheld from
Discovery Kids, the channel it will replace.
Additionally, the network will have to vet the placement of its
ads very thoroughly. Ads for Transformers toys, for example, can't
air within or adjacent to the "Transformers" show due to government
restrictions. The same goes for other Hasbro-branded programs that
also have products to advertise at retail. Ms. Goldstein said those
shows will be pitched to complementary toy brands as a way to
hyper-target certain young audiences (think Mattel's Polly Pocket
advertising during "My Little Pony").
"If you're trying to reach girls 3 to 5 and you have another
brand that goes after that audience, someone like that can own that
property," she said.
Of course, not all toy companies are resisting the Hub in its
early launch phases. American Greetings Inc. is reviving the 1980s
Strawberry Shortcake franchise for a millennial audience, with a
new line of dolls expected to accompany its relaunch. Additionally,
American Greetings is producing two other programs, "Twisted
Whiskers" and "Maryoku Yummy," for the Hub. Ms. Loesch said the
network is also looking at Mattel's portfolio of brands to see if
there's potential to develop programming as well.
"We want to find programs where there's a little bit of buzz
about them," she said, pointing to the anecdotal nostalgia many
fans of the original Hasbro series from the 1980s have already
shared with her in recent months. "There's other shows out there
where, if we can acquire the rights, we'd love to do a retro look
back and have wraparounds with some of the original creative talent
and voice talent and have a celebration to tell some of the
The Hub's first programming slate is a mix of revived
franchises, new properties and family-targeted nostalgia blocks,
with some A-list talent attached. As its competitors Disney Channel
and Nickelodeon continue to go after the older tween audiences with
their late-afternoon and prime-time programming, the Hub is going
after preschoolers in the morning, kids 6-12 in the afternoon and
families in prime time. Here's an exclusive peek at the Hub's
Some of the Hub's most high-profile shows will be updated versions
of well-known Hasbro programs from the 1980s, including "G.I. Joe,"
"Transformers" and "My Little Pony." The latter is being
re-imagined for young girls by "Powerpuff Girls" creator Lauren
Faust, while the new "Transformers Prime" will feature the voice of
Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime from the animated
series as well as the Michael Bay-directed feature films.
Additionally, "Transformers" feature screenwriters Alex Kurtzman
and Robert Orci will act as showrunners. "G.I. Joe Renegades" will
spotlight the Joes on the lam from government forces and the agents
of Cobra, a storyline that echoes the recent feature film released
by Paramount last summer.
Other Hasbro shows
Also on deck is a new version of "Pound Puppies," featuring the
voice of 88-year-old phenom Betty White as Agatha McLeish. "Family
Game Night," meanwhile, is a live-action game show that will
feature families playing tHasbro games such as Monopoly, Scrabble
"Kids in the Hall" vet Dave Foley and "Revenge of the Nerds" star
Curtis Armstrong will lend their voices to "Dan Vs.," an original
animated action series from Starz Media's Film Roman. "GooseBumps"
author R.L. Stine will present "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour," a
live-action anthology horror series. Preschool-targeted "The
WotWots" is an animated show about puppet-like aliens that land in
a local zoo, from Academy Award-winning studio Weta Workshop and
produced by Pukeko Pictures. American Greetings Properties is
prepping U.S. premieres of original series "Maryoku Yummy" and
"Twisted Whiskers." Other new shows include "The 99" (from Teshkeel
Media and Endemol), "Animal Mechanicals" (from Halifax Film),
"Cosmic Quantum Ray" (from Moonscoop) and "Dentora Quest" (from
The Hub will exclusively re-air old episodes of the Jim Henson
Company's "Fraggle Rock," and is also planning a late-night block
of old "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers" episodes to attract parents
and young adult males nostalgic for the '80s-era cartoons. Also
getting a makeover is "Strawberry Shortcake," the American
Greetings character that started a popular line of dolls in the