New animated versions of G.I. Joe and Transformers are coming soon to a television near you, courtesy of Hub, Discovery Communications and Hasbro toy company's new cable brand for children's programming.
The announcement came Thursday in Pasadena, Calif., at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, where Hasbro Joint Venture president and CEO Margaret Loesch said she is now president and CEO of the Hub network, which is replacing Discovery Kids.
"Absolutely, we look forward to it," Loesch said in an interview. "They've got some engaging characters, some great stories, and it's really sort of come full circle. When we were producing the shows years ago, we knew that we had something special with some of those programs. It's fun to reinvigorate them now, reinvent them and come back and bring new programming."
The move is spurred, no doubt, by the recent success of live-action blockbuster movies based on the longstanding toy franchises.
Hub may be a kids' network, but if you raced home from school to watch G.I. Joe and Transformers, you know you still watch them now that you're a so-called grown-up. "I think you'll like what we're doing, because creatively what we're trying to do is embrace what was done previously—the mythology and the legacy—but also take it forward with some new characters and then sort of digging deep a little bit into the existing characters and revealing more about them," Loesch continued. "I think you'll be very happy. Look, one of the things I worry about most are those die-hard fans that write me and say, 'Don't ruin it.' So we're not going to ruin it. It's going to be really good."
They're happy to have you watch, too. The network targets children aged 6-12 as their main demographic, but they hope and expect to have entire families watching Hub shows together.
"This is for kids and their families," Loesch said. "We really think that there's going to be some broad appeal. Clearly, from a content perspective, we don't want to air anything that's inappropriate for kids age 6-12, but is the storytelling going to be engaging for you and me? Absolutely. When we sit in a room and write stories, we're doing it to entertain ourselves. We're trying to challenge our own imaginations. That's why I don't think we'll disappoint the old fans, we won't disappoint the teens."
You may get to see the old episodes of Hasbro shows, too: Hub is also pursuing syndication deals. "Our head of acquisitions has just come on board," Loesch said. "We're talking to all the studios. We're talking to producers. We're even talking to other Discovery channels to see if they have product that isn't on for whatever reason, if they changed their positioning. There might be some product we should take a look at."
Loesch said she has approximately 24 new shows in development. She expects to announce some of the titles in the summer.