Friday, June 20, 2014

The Hub

A small dark cloud amidst the sunshine.

Almost a week after Hub Network president and CEO Margaret Loesch announced that she will be stepping down at the end of the year, speculation about the future of the upstart kids cable channel — a co-venture between Discovery Communications and toy maker Hasbro — is growing.

At the time of Loesch’s announcement, I was hearing the name of Discovery veteran Tom Cosgrove — CEO of another Discovery co-venture channel, 3D Television Network — as a potential replacement. Cosgrove continues to be rumored for the job. Complicating a potential hire is the fact that 3D is a three-way venture of Discovery, Sony and Imax, but I hear Discovery has been exploring becoming a majority or sole owner of the fledgeling 3D TV channel. There is talk that Hub might be put under the purview of Henry S. Schneiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, Destination America, American Heroes Channel (formerly Military Channel) and Discovery Fit & Health. ...

I continue to hear that Hub, which reaches nearly 73 million U.S. homes, may be re-branded, with its headquarters, currently based in Burbank, potentially moving to Discovery’s home base in Silver Spring, MD. After trying with little success to gain ground in a crowded marketplace dominated by Disney Channel and Nickelodeon while kids advertizing is steadily declining, HUB recently expanded into family-oriented programming. ...

As it happens, I was up at Hasbro yesterday afternoon. The studio has three shows in various stages of work, some staff working on series, and other staff on hiatus. The word I got is that one Hasbro show has been greenlit for a second season, and a new series awaits approval to move ahead.

The Hasbro studio, up near Burbank's Bob Hope Airport, has generally supported 2-4 shows over the course of its existence. With Ms. Loesch's departure, there will obviously be changes. It just isn't clear yet what those changes are going to be.


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