Farewell, Discovery Kids Network ... Say Hello to The Hub
by Kim Potts, posted Oct 7th 2010 1:00PM
What's the hubbub with The Hub, Bub? It's the new kids TV network that will occupy the airwaves previously devoted to the Discovery Kids network.
The Hub, a joint project by Discovery Communications and toy and game company Hasbro, launches on Oct. 10 (yes, 10/10/10 at 6AM ET) in 60 million homes, and is best described as Nickelodeon-meets-TV Land.
The network will roll out nearly a dozen new series aimed at kiddies, along with a mix of family-friendly existing shows that includes 'Meerkat Manor,' 'Doogie Howser, M.D.,' 'The Wonder Years,' 'Happy Days' and 'Laverne & Shirley.'
And even some of the new shows will feature characters familiar to kids and adults, including 'The Adventures of Chuck and Friends' (that's Chuck of "the Talking Truck" fame), 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,' 'Pound Puppies' and 'Transformers Prime.'
The Hub President and CEO Margaret Loesch, an Emmy and Peabody Award winner who's helped steer classic cartoons like 'Scooby-Doo,' 'Smurfs,' 'Transformers,' 'G.I. Joe' and 'Muppet Babies,' says the new network is about programming that's compelling for the whole fam.
"The Hub is a playful, transformative world that brings kids and families together, powered by clever stories and engaging characters," says Loesch, who also launched the Hallmark Channel in 2001 as its founding CEO.
In addition to all The Hub's 'toons and retro sitcoms, Loesch has also planned a group of live-action series that will pepper the line-up:
- 'Family Game Night,' hosted by E! alum Todd Newton, features Hasbro games come to life, with families competing in life-size versions of Yahtzee (via Yahtzee Bowling), Bop-It, Connect 4 and Cranium;
- 'Clue,' also based on the classic Hasbro board game (which has already been adapted as a movie), with a cast of Disney/Nick-ish young stars who'll work together to solve mysteries;
- 'Pictureka,' another adaptation of a another Hasbro game;
- 'Hubworld' is a weekly pop culture news magazine hosted by actor/comedian/magician Justin Willman, best known as the host of Food Network's 'Cupcake Wars'; and
- 'R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour,' a live-action anthology series based on the works of the beloved kiddie horror story author.
Though it is a kid-focused network, The Hub will also be packed with plenty of adult-friendly celebs:
- Everybody's favorite superstar -- Betty White, of course -- will provide voicework on 'Pound Puppies,' as will Will, a.k.a. 'Will & Grace' star Eric McCormack;
- Animation voice legends Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, from the original 1980s 'Transformers' 'toon, will also provide voice work for the 'Transformers Prime' series;
- 'Hubworld' will include celebrity coverage like, in a clip shown to media members at a Hub preview event last month, Jason Mraz watching and singing along with the YouTube.com hit video -- it's been viewed more than 27 million times -- of "Ukulele Boy" performing Mraz' infectious 'I'm Yours';
- And, in a nice nod to the fact that the '80s classic family sitcom 'Family Ties' will air on The Hub and introduce a whole new generation to the genius of comedic timing that was Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, 'Ties' parents Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross will provide voices for 'Dan Vs.,' an animated comedy about Dan ('Revenge of the Nerds' star Curtis Armstrong), a guy who's mad as heck that (he thinks) the world is out to get him. 'Kids in the Hall' and 'NewsRadio' funny guy Dave Foley provides the voice of Dan's BFF, Chris.
For a breakdown of The Hub schedule, as well as the complete line-up of new shows and video previews, check out Hubworld.com.