Thoughts on The Hub

There has been much talk and debate in recent times about the upcoming launch of the newest TV channel aimed at kids, that’s right, The Hub. Co-owned by Hasbro and Discovery Networks. Anyone over the age of 20 will immediately recognize there is more than one show of that classic 80s vintage, the toy line.

What has proven to be the most surprising developments of the channels launch has been the heated debate about the nature of the shows, namely that fact that the three in question: G. I. Joe, My Little Pony and Pound Puppies are all based on the existing Hasbro toy lines of the same name. This parallels a separate show based on the popular Sketchers line of shoes, which is currently being investigated by the FCC after a complaint by a campaign group.

The new network seems to have escaped this group’s attention for the moment although I suspect that it is because: a) it hasn’t launched yet and b) there were previous cartoon incarnations that have caused them to fly under the radar for the moment.

I have somewhat average hopes for the network, much will depend on the quality of the content. In times gone past you simply knocked a show together based on the toys and Bob’s your uncle. DIC became masters of the art before getting swallowed up by Cookie Jar. In this day and age, The Hub may find this audience a tougher nut to crack than in the past.

The reason, for one, is the quality of shows on other networks. The rampaging juggernaut that is SpongeBob Squarepants has single-handedly ruled that cartoon merchandising empire for more than a decade. Despite their storied past, any of the Hub’s shows are unlikely to overthrow the king.

As noted on Cartoon Brew, the network that may have to watch its back is Cartoon Network. While it is true that they are (somewhat) engaged in the true model of using creator-driven content, they also suffer from a severely deficient marketing strategy that has so-far yielded next to nothing for the vast majority of their shows. The sole exemption being Ben 10, which has been rather successful at hawking a line of toys and ancillary merchandise.

The network doesn’t launch for another bit, but I think I can safely say that with Lauren Faust in the driving seat, My Little Pony may well be making a big-time comeback.