Yesterday, word quietly came out that Discovery would be rebranding “The Hub”, the channel they operated alongside Hasbro for the past five years, in hopes of competing with channels like Nickelodeon and Disney. Overall, it would seem the experiment should be considered a failure, as after those five years, Discovery is apparently going to rebrand it as Discovery Family and tweak the format slightly to appeal to both children and families. This rebrand involves buying back some of Hasbro’s stake in the channel and at least from the surface, eliminating the connection to Hasbro’s apparently failed enterprise.
But what some folks aren’t talking about is that Hasbro still owns a significant piece of the channel, and still has the programming block from 9:00am – 3:00pm, so it’s not like Hasbro is just throwing up their hands and walking away.
Also, I do wonder just how much of a “failure” the enterprise should be considered. Look, I have no love for what Hasbro did to G.I. Joe: Renegades, and I think the Hub was the perfect platform to aggressively relaunch and remarket the brand. They totally and completely dropped the ball on that. They actually didn’t drop the ball, they threw it directly into the ground and stomped on it, and I think that stands as one of the most foolish things they’ve done over the past several years.
However, the Hub was the catalyst for keeping Transformers relevant with kids via Transformers: Prime, and even more importantly Transformers: Rescue Bots. Even moreso, the cultural phenomenon of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic likely would not have transpired if not for the Hub, and regardless of whether or not the Hub captured the market share it needed to be relevant (it obviously did not), I’m sure it sold a lot of toys and a lot of broadcast rights to Netflix, so perhaps there were enough nuggets of success in there
All that being said, I still remember how thrilled I was to hear about the emergence of the Hub. I remember calling Comcast and completely revamping my cable package so I could be sure I had the channel. The lead up to and events of the G.I. Joe: Renegades series were some of my most memorable times over the past several years. It’s a real shame that five years later essentially no evidence of those great several months will really exist. I would imagine this doesn’t spell good news for the chances of a future G.I. Joe animated series either. I don’t think the door can be completely shut on that, but the reduced Hasbro stake in the Hub certainly doesn’t do any of us any favors.
Check out the full article outlining this on Deadline.com and to remember the simpler days, check out my G.I. Joe: Renegades Super Section where I posted character outlines, episode guides, and all sorts of fun stuff.