The Hub is 10

RandomMe

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Tomorrow should have marked the tenth anniversary of a channel that had so many potential in becoming the fourth name in joining the Big 3: CN, Disney and Nick. The Hub replaced the vegetative Discovery Kids, whose mindset in the USA was still in a way true to what it was for most of its existence, an educational kids' channel, but the Latin American counterpart simply refused to go its own way and become a pre-school channel in its own right.

In April 2009, shortly after the Discovery Kids LA rebrand, Discovery Communications and Hasbro were announcing a 50/50 joint-venture to replace DK in the United States. By 2002, the channel had been broadcasting to 43 million homes as a digital cable/satellite add-on channel. While the parent network has changed its logo the previous year (and had shifted gears towards unscripted programming for longer), Discovery Kids was still stuck using the old aesthetic and blocks, including Ready Set Learn, defected from TLC, and primetime block @DK.

Hasbro paid $300 million for 50% ownership of the network. Under the arrangement, Discovery would be in charge of handling advertising sales and distribution for the new service, while Hasbro would be involved in acquiring and producing programming. High on the cards were shows that were based off existing Hasbro properties like Transformers and My Little Pony, as well as primetime gameshows inspired by their board games, and educational content, some of them leftovers from the former channel.

Then they announced the name for the new channel: The Hub. More than just a kids' network, it was positioned to be a "family network" by the two parties involved (the gameshows were a prime example of that). The name was announced in January 2010 and strategically launched at 10am on October 10th, 2010: the tenth hour of the tenth day of the tenth month of the tenth year of the century. Up until then Discovery Kids was just sitting there doing its own thing, showing four hours' worth of Kenny the Shark reruns. The channel opened with a sneak preview of what it would air.

The network's logo, nicknamed "hubble bubble tubble", was considered to be a "catalyst of action and imagination", basically what a kids' network would be. Before the network's premiere, sneak previews aired on other Discovery networks: Cosmic Quantum Ray on Science, Twisted Whiskers on Animal Planet and Family Game Night on TLC (can you imagine TLC having a gameshow?).

As it turns out, the channel's crown jewel was MLP:FIM as within a few weeks it attracted unexpectedly high viewing figures and generated the brony fandom, causing the series to lose its E/I credentials quickly. With the rise of the network, a new Huburbia forum was added to Toonzone.

At launch, it was a kids channel from 6am to 8pm, with a separate pre-school block (HubBub) running in the morning hours. After 8pm it consisted of syndicated TV shows (mostly sitcoms) and movies, the "family" part of the channel. That also included an action block called HubBoom that mainly aired action cartoons. Later the primetime slot was renamed Family Prime Time. In addition, the channel had 3DW (Three-Day Weekend), meaning that the weekend schedule would start on Friday instead of Saturday unlike all of its competitors.


Perhaps the biggest gem The Hub ever had was Dan Vs., a show that to my extent was only exported to Russia (2X2 probably) and Israel (Arutz HaYeladim). @Dan's Revenge still has his Dan avatar many years after the show and the network fell into obscurity.

And who can't forget The Aquabats?


The Hub continued doing its own thing in the next couple of years, however in June 2011, it was announced that following a debt filling from the Securities and Exchange Commission, they realized that the channel wasn't worth keeping at all. Comparatively speaking, The Hub was a major "minor". Its status was confined to the same levels as Boomerang, all of Nick's sister channels and Disney XD: premium-ish kids channels available on higher tiers. I don't know if any company even offered The Hub or its successor on the basic tier. As of 2013, network management was still evaluating the debt situation.

In 2013 it purchased the rights to air Stan Lee's Mighty 7 and, surprise!: the Animaniacs. It and a few other WB properties were likely sublicensed to air on the network. Following the revision of the network in 2011/2012, HubBub was dropped from the schedule.

2014 started with a rebrand, one that I personally despised at the time. The channel's logo changed a little and the network was now known as Hub Network. This was proven to be a bad omen: Margaret Loesch, president of the network, was going to step down by the end of the year. In September it was announced that Discovery was going to buy stakes from Hasbro and retool it as Discovery Family. Some shows like MLP:FIM were kept but Transformers: Robots in Disguise, initially scheduled to run on The Hub, would end up airing on Cartoon Network instead. Discovery took the advantage of making it a proper family network as ABC Family (renamed Freeform in January 2016) was now aiming towards teenage girls. The Hub made its last broadcast on October 13, 2014. The Huburbia board was dropped accordingly, with all posts moving to this board.

Exactly four years, two days and twenty hours had passed from its launch. The Hub shut down in what was basically the world's 2013/2014 watershed, as people started getting more into gadgets than anything else and kids are moving away from linear TV to streaming. Discovery Family is still a higher tier channel. Who knows how long will it stay on the air.

Now imagine what would have happened if they picked another partner or let Hasbro handle the network by itself. How long would it last?
 

themidnightlore

That one that banters over Sony TV channels
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For what is worth, there's a Discovery Family in France.
I don't know if the US and the French version are similar, sadly.

Anyway, even having not much knownledge over The Hub, it seemed to be a cool channel.
 

RandomMe

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For what is worth, there's a Discovery Family in France.
I don't know if the US and the French version are similar, sadly.

Anyway, even having not much knownledge over The Hub, it seemed to be a cool channel.
There's one in Africa. However they don't screen animated content much.
 

LinusFan303

A fan of Peanuts in their 70th year
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I was sad when Discovery Kids shut down , but the Hub seemed like a fun network, I liked watching the classic shows in primetime and some of the day shows were fun. The Haunting hour and Dan vs. were great, it was nice having an alternative to the Big 3. It didn't last that long before it became a Discovery throw-way channel they have a few of those.
 

CNC

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The Hub's launch schedule vs. Discovery Family's schedule last week


 

JMTV Studios

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*Looking at the Hub Network's premiere schedule*

Wow....man, I really missed the Hub that had a lot of great variety back in the day. You had Hasbro original cartoons and game shows, you had Hub animated originals and live action originals, you got movies, classic nostalgic sitcoms from the 70's to the 90's, acquired shows (well at least good ones anyway), some Discovery Kids shows here and there, programming blocks with preschool series, action series, primetime series, Kids WB series, great crossover commercials, parody commercials, and so many to count.

I really love Hub Network for having a lot of great variety and creativity and it actually does something that no other kids network did at that time. It was a network that geared towards EVERYONE. It wasn't made just for kids nor it wasn't made just for adults. It had that perfect mix that I do really love. When you think about it, back in the early 2010's, the main three kids networks were all segregated in terms of their demographics and their programs. Cartoon Network is mostly a boys network, Disney Channel is a girls network (and arguably Disney XD was a boys version of Disney Channel as well), and while Nickelodeon is still a kids network, but people was there just to watch Spongebob and nothing else(until Korra and TMNT 2012 came out, but that besides the point).

The point is that The Hub Network was a massive standout for it's time with it's unique branding, great variety of content, and it had a massive general audience appeal despite it was marketed towards kids and families.

This network had SO much potential to thrive to compete against other kids networks and it could be the best competitor to Nick, CN, and Disney for the next decade or two. But because of unfortunate circumstances between Discovery and Hasbro, Hub Network lasted about four years.

Which really sucks because the Hub Network had so much potential going forward. I was really sad when I heard the Hub Network was shutting down in 2014 because I do have a lot fond memories watching this network when it first came out. Granted, I do watch the Hub in it's later years only for MLP (until season 6), but the network's creativity and originality made me who I am today. It's such a shame that Hub is gone too soon.

Now with all that said, here's something that I found out recently in this forum. During the time when The Hub was going turn into Discovery Family in October of 2014, while they expressed their disappointment of the change (I don't blame them), and while others are not surprised that was going to happened. But one of things that really shocked me, is that I heard some people complaining about The Hub.

I mean, I heard some people say that The Hub was relying way too much on MLP and LPS 2012 (similar to Nick airing Spongebob and FOP too much), airing the same family movies over and over again, relying too much classic sitcoms and not enough original content, and even if they do have original content, they either poorly promoted or poorly scheduled.

When looking at these complaints, yeah, I do understand what they're coming from. As much as I do love The Hub, they're not prefect by any means. If your are gonna rely on MLP and nostalgic sitcoms and not enough original content in order to keep themselves a float, then you are not gonna last that long.

That's also a shame too, because they started out amazing in 2010-2012, but in 2013-14, they pretty much stopped caring and only to seeming to bank on ponies and nostalgia, and nothing else. It would've been nice if the Hub (and Hasbro themselves) do present more original content that is not Hasbro related and gives them a fair shot, a great balance between the old and the new like it's earlier years, and it had more of a consistent branding and focus. So that way, it'll make the Hub lasted much longer than 4 years. Oh, and be part of basic cable package.

As for my opinion on Discovery Family? I hated it back then and I still hate it now. Say what will about the Hub Network and it's reliance on ponies and nostalgia in it's final years, at least they have variety. At least they decent shows on their lineup. At least they bring diverse programming to the network. At least they tried to do something new and experiment them with their own shows. Granted, did it worked out in the end? No, but at least they tried.

Discovery Family, on other the hand, feels like a carbon copy of other Discovery channels and nothing really makes them stand out like Hub did back in the early 2010's. From the looks of their programming, it's nothing more than just boring science and nature documentaries and family reality shows that even The Learning Channel and even Discovery Kids, want nothing to do with this. You know when it's bad when the Hub Network, even it's "worse" years, had more variety than Discovery Family, in freaking comparison.

I know I keep repeating myself, but it still irritates me.

MLP was sadly on the only thing that kept DFamily relevant until it ended last year, and left the network pretty much dead (for a while until Pony Life came out, which....I'll talk about that show for another day).

(Sighs) All I hope for Hasbro right now is best to leave Discovery Inc entirely and focus on other venues. They bought Entertainment One recently (though the deal had not been finalized yet, for what I heard) and I hope for them to partner up with eOne and make a brand new streaming service for them (and possibly bring back the Hub name). I know it's not gonna happened and it's gonna be very hard to do but if Hasbro really wants to move forward with their content, they gotta do something in order to get people interested and hopefully not to repeat the same mistakes as they partnered with Discovery years ago.

So that's my opinion on this. What do you think?
 
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superkeegan9100

YTPer, Cartoon Analyst, Artist
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I still remember watching the launch, I was sad to see Discovery Kids go but I was excited for the Hub. It was my first exposure to shows like Atomic Betty, The Twisted Whiskers Show, Cosmic Quantum Ray and the British Dennis the Menace. Prior to that, ads for the launch were EVERYWHERE. Especially online. I remember going on Poptropica and there were a LOT of Hub ads...
 

JMTV Studios

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I did some further research on how and why The Hub Network failed, and I did found this article from AdWeek 5 years ago explaining on why and it feature some former Hub executives (that were laid off during the Discovery Family rebrand) speak up about their stories on why it failed.

I'm not gonna reiterate on what the article said, if you guys wanna check it out for yourself, then click the link below:

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Hasbro's TV Strategy

When looking at this article, it really does give me a brand new perspective on why The Hub ended the way it did.

To keep it very short and sweet, the real reason why The Hub Network failed due to financial problems, Discovery felt it was more of a priority to focus on Oprah Winfrey Network instead of The Hub. Hasbro was taken full responsibilities with The Hub Network and since they are a toy company, they don't know how run a kids TV channel at that time. Plus, Mattel and Lego bailed out their advertisements for The Hub because they don't want to be in a extremely awkward position to promote their toys from a network that was co-owned by their major rival. That, and also the fact that Hub was on higher tier cable packages didn't help either.

I know a lot will point out other reasons on why The Hub Network failed like relying too much on MLP and nostalgia, but that's just the gist of it.

The reason why this whole thing does give a me a brand new perspective is because this is something that I did not expected this to come out right out of the open. It's not like Cartoon Network Fridays in which that block got cancelled in 2007, we didn't get more information from the crew or the hosts on why it got cancelled for many years other than it got replaced by Fried Dynamite. I'm still frustrated about it to this day.

Hub Network, on the other hand, is much different than that. At least there is a reason on why it flopped, and it really goes to show how much Discovery and Hasbro really tried to pleased everybody with The Hub with a very promising start, but ultimately ended up pleasing nobody.

Which is unfortunate to be honest, because The Hub Network had so much potential to be the fourth competitor of the big three kids networks with great content and great branding, and it really does seems like a breath of fresh air compared to the big three. However, due to unfortunate circumstances behind Discovery and Hasbro, it really did killed off The Hub for good, and I don't think there is gonna be a fourth competitor in the Kids TV market anytime soon.

Now fast forward to this year, with Discovery Family going in zombie mode now with airing more MLP than Nickelodeon did with Spongebob(and that's saying something), it does seems like Hasbro trying adapt in this current time since we are in the age streaming after all. They put their shows on other platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Cartoon Network, and Hulu, and they worked out decently well.

Since now they bought Entertainment One recently, it does look like Hasbro really take their content a lot more seriously in the market.

With streaming services becoming a popular thing right now and revivals of popular TV shows really became huge deal in the entertainment industry, can I ask 1 simple question:

Would Hasbro create their own streaming service and bring back the Hub as a streaming service?

My answer to that is...YES..and no. Yes, I would LOVE to see that happened. It would a fantastic moment to see The Hub make a comeback in the streaming service climate. But at the same time, with the way things are going right now, I don't think it's not gonna happened unless Hasbro really wants to take The Hub into a completely different direction than they were before. Plus, times have changed since The Hub came out a decade ago and a lot of people moved on from it.

So I don't know, I would love for it to happened, but that's gonna be very hard to do so.

If Hasbro really wants to compete in the streaming market, they gotta put out much content as much as possible. New content, old content, exclusives, extras, and much more. The Hub would've gone in a major comeback if Hasbro puts out everything from The Hub library, brand new original series, revivals and reboots from their old series, Entertainment One series and movies, Power Rangers series, and a familiar vision on what made The Hub so great, but more modernized and fresh for today's audiences.

Hasbro better not waste this opportunity if they wanted to bring back The Hub again as a streaming service because the last thing we need right now is The Hub becoming the next Quibi. Just saying...

So that's all I gotta say. What do you think?
 

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