By Stacey Harrison
The Hub may be a kids’ network, but it’s certainly not taking any baby steps when it comes to launching itself into the TV landscape.
Having premiered Oct. 10 — or as it’s known in catchy marketing lingo, 10/10/10 — the joint venture between Discovery Communications and toy- and game-maker Hasbro replaced Discovery Kids and is available 24/7 in 60 million homes. While it will fill some of that time with existing programs, including Fraggle Rock, Meerkat Manor and Doogie Howser, M.D., The Hub is also rolling out 11 original shows over its first few months — an astronomical amount for a new network.
Programming will be broken down into blocks aimed at specific age groups: Pre-school (ages 2-5), from 9am-1pm; Kids Afternoon/Kids Prime (ages 6-12), 1-6pm; Family Prime Access, 6-7pm; and Family Prime, 7-11pm. (All times Eastern.)
CEO Margaret Loesch says, “The whole design of our channel is to create programming for kids, but in prime time have shows [that parents] will enjoy as much as [kids] will. … It embraces the concept that you don’t talk down to the audience. When you’re writing and producing for 6- to-12-year-olds, you put in aspirational dialogue — you don’t put in story, plots, characters or dialogue that is underwhelming. You want something that they have to reach for a little bit, that’s a little more sophisticated.”
Here’s a look at the lineup of The Hub originals.
The Adventures of Chuck and Friends (Pre-School)
Aimed at the preschool set, this high-energy, song-filled series follows TONKA’s Chuck the Truck and his vehicular buddies.
Clue (Kids & Family Prime)
The board game comes to life as a half-hour live-action series featuring a youthful cast working together to solve mysteries.
Dan Vs. (Kids & Family Prime)
This animated comedy about a guy who thinks the world is out to get him, but isn’t taking it lying down, features a stellar voice cast including Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall), Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds) and — Family Ties reunion alert! — Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross.
Family Game Night (Kids & Family Prime)
Todd Newton hosts this game show that features families trying their hands at various Hasbro games like Bop-It, Cranium and Connect 4.
G.I. Joe: Renegades (Kids Prime)
Go back to a time before characters like Duke, Snake Eyes, Scarlett and Roadblock were Real American Heroes to when they were first recruited to join the elite military unit. Not long after they come together, they are framed for a crime and turned into fugitives, which makes fighting Cobra that much more difficult.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Kids Afternoon)
Studious unicorn Twilight Sparkle lets her mane down and heads to the village of Ponyville to meet some new friends.
Pictureka! (Kids Prime)
Families try to find objects disguised within elaborately drawn facades. Cory Almeida hosts.
Pound Puppies (Kids Afternoon)
C’mon, if it’s a big entertainment story these days, you just knew Betty White had to be involved. The comedy legend provides one of the voices for this revamp of the 1980s cartoon, which also features the voice talent of Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and John DiMaggio (Futurama).
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour (Family Prime)
The Goosebumps wizard is back with a new horror anthology, based on his book.
The war between the Autobots and Decepticons rages on in this sharp-looking update that features the voice talent of Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) and Frank Welker (Megatron) from the 1980s series, as well as the producers of the blockbuster live-action movies.
The 99 (Premieres in 2011)
Based on the acclaimed comic book, this animated series is rooted in Middle Eastern culture. It follows superheroes from 99 different countries who each embody one of 99 global values such as wisdom, mercy, strength and faithfulness.
Photos: Pound Puppies: Pound Puppies™ and ©Hasbro, Inc. Used under license. ; Transformers Prime: Transformers™ and ©Hasbro, Inc. Used under license.