KidPop News: The Hub Kills Off Discovery Kids

Filed under: In The News, Toys, TV

discovery kids picture

New children's cable network, The Hub, has sent Discovery Kids to an early grave. Illustration: Christopher Healy

If your kids were among the relatively few fans of such Discovery Kids edutainment programs as Timeblazers or Grossology, they may have been puzzled this week when they went to turn on their favorite shows and found instead Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony cartoons. Last Sunday, Discovery Kids officially bid the world adieu and a brand-new network, The Hub, appeared in its place.

The Hub is a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Hasbro -- yes, the toy company. As you might imagine, the Hasbro connection doesn't sit well with some folks. And yes, the programming will feature a good percentage of toy tie-ins, like a Pictureka! game show, revamped Transformers and G.I. Joe series, and the aforementioned shortcakes and ponies. The new network's flagship series is "Family Game Night," a television game show based on a video game series, which is in turn, based on Hasbro board games.

But is it really any different if the toy comes before the show or the show comes before the toy? Every TV show that hits with kids is going to have merchandise associated with it. Picky-parent-pleasers like Super Why, Wonder Pets and Dora the Explorer didn't start off as toy lines, but walk through any big-box store and you'll find plenty of ways to spend your money on them. No, the only kids' shows that really didn't have much merchandising were those poor old Discovery Kids programs that have now taken a back seat to reruns of dusted-off fare like "Men in Black: The Series." By the way, if your children are actually still looking for "DinoSapien," "Adventure Camp" and the rest of the old DK lineup, just set your DVR for 4 am: You'll find them stashed away there.

Speaking of commercials and children's television, one of the best viral videos of recent weeks is a clip from Sesame Street called "Smell Like a Monster." In the 45-second sketch, Grover appears clad in only a towel (which, yes, is more than he usually wears), doing his best impression of Old Spice pitchman/sex symbol Isaiah Mustafa. It's hilarious, even if it's a seemingly odd choice of material for an educational preschool program. But Sesame Street has long history of aiming way over the heads of its intended viewers -- often to the delight of captive-audience parents. Other recent "I hope my kid doesn't get this" Sesame parodies: "Mad Men," "The Closer," and "True Mud."

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