April 30th, 2009

Hasbro and Discovery Join to Create Toy TV Mania

By Alana Semuels
Los Angeles Times

As if your kid didn’t already have enough to TiVo, what with SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer coming on every day, toymaker Hasbro Inc. and Discovery Communications have decided there’s a need for a new TV network for kids. Why is Hasbro involved, you ask? Because the programming is going to be based on Hasbro brands.

Hasbro will own a 50% stake in the venture and will contribute a creative team to create content for the network. If you’re curious how Hasbro will choose from its many brands, which include Transformers, Lincoln Logs and the Easy-Bake Oven, the Associated Press says that the programming will be based on brands such as Romper Room, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. Maybe they’ll hire someone really creative and have GI Joe face off against Mr. Potato Head in an epic battle of wits.

At least one children’s advocacy group abhors the venture (fittingly, abhors is an anagram for Hasbro). Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, called the partnership “a new low in children’s television.” She added that “it will make a mockery of existing ad limits and the current prohibition of product placement in children’s television.”

Her group is already calling on the FCC to evaluate this new venture and current restrictions on product placement for children’s programming.

A programming slate and name for the network will be revealed in late 2010. 

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