I didn't know about this until I ran across a posting by Silverstar over at Twin Factor the other day. After 4 years of trying to run with the big boys of children's television, The Hub Network, otherwise known simply as The Hub, is being rebooted yet again.
Again, you say? Yes. After all, The Hub rose from the ashes of the Discovery Kids channel after Hasbro bought a significant stake in the network, and subsequently opened a studio so they could revive some of their previously animated properties.
But, therein lies the problem. Like the networks they wanted to compete with, namely Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, & Cartoon Network, not to mention each channel's sister stations, The Hub fell into the pattern of plugging every available hole in the schedule with the hottest property they have, namely, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, despite a deep vault of other shows, including the entire DK library that could've been kept on the air to fill time. Instead, shows like The Future Is Wild & Grossology were phased out after a few weeks on The Hub. You'll recall that the other networks have made that same mistake by overplaying their golden geese (i.e. Scooby-Doo, Phineas & Ferb, etc.), but also learned to diversify their product, for better or worse.
The Hub's idea of diversification was to copy Nick at Nite and fill primetime with classic, family-friendly sitcoms, such as, most recently, Blossom. Discovery Communications, which is taking back full control next month, is rebranding the network as----wait for it---Discovery Family. Not exactly original, I know, but their idea of prime-time programming figures to be mostly documentaries, also aimed at families. Like, I wouldn't mind if they could persuade Disney to lease out those "True Life Adventure" documentaries that were in theatres back in the day, and haven't seen the light of day on DC in seemingly forever, or even The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, but the kiddo's will be bored to tears and will be fleeing to the other channels.
What seemingly sealed the deal was the decision made by programming head Margaret Loesch to step down at the end of the month. Loesch, whose resume includes stops at Marvel and Hanna-Barbera in the 80's, would be a good fit at CN if they didn't already have someone in place to take over for Stuart Snyder, who left at the end of March. While Friendship is Magic and other Hasbro toons will continue, as Hasbro will program a significant chunk of daytime programming, the ratings will suffer once the new programming schematic kicks in on October 13.
It was not that long ago that I had declared that The Hub was better than Cartoon Network. The diff, however, is that Hub wasn't reaching as many homes as CN, Nick, and/or Disney combined. That and ratings fatigue from overplaying My Little Pony into the ground would be enough to write fini.
Toon fans have to hope, though, that Discovery will bring back their own line of toons, like the shows mentioned above and Tutenstein, the latter in time for Halloween. If they don't, then they're wasting everyone's time.