Quit Being So Cheap!

You know what really grinds my gears?

When people on animation message boards complain endlessly about how their favorite old-school cartoon shows like The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Animaniacs aren’t airing on TV anymore, and then when I mention that many of them are available on DVD now, someone inevitably comes back with this:

Schleprock

“People don’t have the money to spend on things like this all of the time.”

or

Ventriloquist Dummy

“Even though this series is entirely on DVD, not everyone has the extra money to buy “this want”. Needs come first. And simply getting the DVDs isn’t as appealing as watching the program on regular television to some. Sometimes, just watching a program on TV is good enough.”

In response to this, I have to say…

Carl

“You have got to be freakin’ kidding me!”

I love how retro snobs who want their favorite era of entertainment to go on forever never seem to have any problem with indulging themselves with little luxuries, but then want to play the broke card whenever someone suggests that they buy a DVD or Blu-Ray of their favorite canceled/ended TV show instead of complaining that they’re no longer airing in TV, as if the networks are somehow obligated to continue airing the reruns for all eternity. Sorry, folks, but the excuse that DVDs and Blu-Rays of your favorite shows are an expensive luxury that many people can’t afford, and therefore the networks should be obligated to keep running them on TV is a bunch of…

Bull Cartoon

 

…well, you know.

People need to stop with the “DVDs are too expensive” excuse ’cause it’s a weak one. Cable/satellite TV, video games and the internet aren’t necessities either. They’re luxuries that cost more then the price of a DVD, and yet people seem to have no problem paying for these luxuries every single month. The cost of a complete season of Tiny Toon Adventures is around $35, which is less than what you’d pay for one meal at a sit down restaurant. If you can afford cable, internet and/or video games, you can afford DVDs.

First, what’s up with the quotes around “this want”? What does that even mean? Second, let’s be real about this: shelter, food, clothing and medicine are necessities. Everything else is a luxury. Before anyone starts to lecture me on peoples’ needs versus their wants, let me ask you all a question:

What about this?

No one really needs a smartphone. Sure, they’re neat to have around and they look cool, but all you really need is a phone in case you need to call someone while you’re not at home or if there’s an emergency to report and there are no phone booths around. You don’t need something to update your Facebook status, check your horoscope or watch movies on. No one needs to be carrying around a miniature laptop in their pocket. Smartphones are an expensive luxury, but people buy them anyway. If you can afford a smartphone, you can afford a DVD.

And how about this?

frappacino

You’re going to tell me that buying a DVD of The Jetsons is too expensive, yet you have no problem with dropping $5+ dollars on a cup of coffee with whipped cream on top? If you can afford a frappucino, you can afford a DVD.

And what about pets? Dog and cats at least have their uses under certain circumstances, but does anyone really need a parakeet, a goldfish, a turtle or a hamster? No! But people buy them anyway. If you can afford a pet, you can afford a DVD.

Do you have a job? If so, why not put aside $10 each week. By the end of the month, you’ll have $40, which is enough to purchase a DVD or Blu Ray. Keep doing that and eventually, you’ll have amassed yourself an impressive collection of shows that you can watch whenever you want.

Hauntleroy

“I don’t want to buy a bunch of DVDs.”

Then find a site where you can legally stream your favorite old shows and download them from there, or create an account with a site like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Crackle or something similar. That’s what, $9 a month? You can afford that can’t you?

Basically, it all boils down to “How bad do you want it?”. Alcoholics will do whatever they have to do to get a drink. Drug addicts will do whatever they have to do in order to get their fix. These fans need to think of these old-school cartoons as their drink or their drug. A true fan would do whatever they had to do in order to enjoy their favorite show, but if you’re not willing to shell out a little bit of money for something that you enjoy, then obviously it doesn’t mean that much to you. If you choose not to buy a DVD or Blu-Ray of a show that you like, that’s your decision, but don’t grouse about it if you’re not willing to stick your neck out.

Scrooge_McDuck

“Maybe the problem is that you’re just cheap!”

A Shocking Yet Simple Truism

Ahem….

You know, when you strip away all the pretense and really think about it, the cartoon Johnny Bravo was actually just a show about a guy trying to get laid.

I know, right?

Is the New Boom a Bust?

Let’s wax for a bit about Boomerang, shall we?

As many of you may or may not know, Boomerang, the digital tier bonus sister channel to Cartoon Network, originally launched in 2000 as a dumping ground to get CN’s older, canceled and discarded shows off the man channel in order to make room for their newer shows, premieres and acquisitions, has re-branded this February. Turner has since reformatted Boomerang from an ad-free all-reruns archive channel to a ad-supported sister network to CN targeting 4-11 year old kids and their families. The channel’s bumpers and wraparounds have also been updated, with the original bumps depicting Hanna-Barbera toys and narration from actor John O’Hurley (who you may know as Elaine’s boss from Seinfeld and a former host of Family Feud) have been retired and replaced by new stylized Art Deco bumpers and a new kid announcer. Turner is trying to position Boomerang as a full-blown channel in its’ own right, having it run in sync with Boomerang’s international feeds, and that’s OK. However, since the February makeover, Da Boom’s scheduling has gotten severely lazy, with Double Play blocks of Tom & Jerry, The Tom & Jerry Show, The Garfield Show, The Looney Tunes Show and What’s New, Scooby-Doo? airing up to 3-4 times per day, no new original shows airing there as of yet aside from Numb Chucks, a weekend series originally announced to run on CN and Grojband, which originally aired briefly on CN and CN.com, both of which only airing on weekends, and Teen Titans GO! and The Amazing World of Gumball, 2 of CN’s biggest hits currently , airing simultaneously on Boomerang. And for a channel trying to carve a swath for itself as contender…

Sonic-the-Hedgehog-3D-model

“That’s no good!”

 

We’ve been told that Boomerang is undergoing a “stealth re-brand” and that the changes being made to it are said to be gradual, with said changes coming in a little bit at a time as opposed to all at once. Boomerang’s Upfront is supposed to be released in May, and supposedly we’ll see a real difference in Boomerang’s schedule then. But do The Powers That Be at Turner really think that folks will be willing to wait that long and sit through the same 4-6 shows again and again until then? I know A LOT of people are dissatisfied and genuinely upset with with this re-brand, and I have to say that I’m a tad disappointed with it as well, albeit for different reasons than the people who are making pissy YouTube videos about it. The former group is upset that Boomerang has reformatted and changed, whereas I’m disappointed that Boomerang hasn’t changed dramatically enough. For all the noise I’ve had to endure about Da Boom re-inventing itself and as long as The Powers That Be have made us wait for the re-brand, after all that just to give endless breadstick blocks of Tom & Jerry and The Garfield Show is more than a little anticlimactic. I actually think it would’ve been better if Turner had just unveiled its’ new format and schedule all at once on day 1 of the re-brand rather than nerfing their schedule down just a small handful of the same shows and looping them (as well as the same 2 bumpers) endlessly until spring.

Turner’s other big mistake was turning its’ back on its’ classic programming, under the idee fixe that “new is better” and audiences won’t watch anything more than 15 or 20 years old.

On more than one occasion I’ve been accused of “praising Boomerang for going in a new direction and steering away from nostalgic programming” and “wanting to see the classics get taken off once and for all”, and I just want to go on record to say that that notion is so far from the truth that it’s funny. Why would I want to see the classics get taken off of Boomerang? Please. I have nothing against the classics, I’m just not a nostalgic person and as such I don’t allow myself to become “time warped” and stuck in a particular era. The shows that interest me, from ANY era, I watch, and the shows that don’t interest me, from ANY era, I simply don’t watch; it’s literally that simple. I don’t go around proactively wishing for shows to get removed when just switching them off and watching something else is so much easier. Just because I read enough press and information to know that Boomerang’s true purpose was not to “preserve the classics”, but rather to get the older shows off of Turner’s main kids’ channel Cartoon Network, and because I’m also realistic enough to accept that times and the media have changed considerably since the late 80’s through 2000’s and that archive channels are rapidly going the way of the dodo since their audiences tend to fall off after a while and advertisers aren’t in a hurry to run spots on a channel which doesn’t show anything new (the elephant in the room that the ranting YouTubers tend to ignore or overlook is that Boomerang wasn’t making a ton of money as the Hanna-Barbera Reruns Channel, which is why this re-brand was initiated in the first place, both domestically and internationally; if the all-reruns format had been profitable, then The Powers That Be would never have re-branded Boomerang in the first place)…

“Psst! Here I am! I’m here in the room! Look over here! I will not be ignored! Holla at ya boy!”

…Just because I’m aware of the facts and accept these changes as an inevitability (quite frankly, I’m surprised the old Boomerang lasted as long as it did) doesn’t mean that I’m anti-classic cartoons, and Turner shouldn’t be either, at least not completely. This new Boomerang is said to be aiming itself towards kids and families, well the last time I checked, moms and dads, and even big bro and sis were part of the family too, why shouldn’t they get to enjoy the beloved shows from their childhoods once in a while? And no, I’m not suggesting that Boom ax all of the new shows, scrap the originals before they even debut and revert back to the all-archive format like so many YouTube complainers want; that would be ratings suicide for reasons I’ve already listed above. There’s nothing wrong with having some older shows sprinkled around the schedule here and there, but if they’re used as the anchor of the whole network, then you have a problem. Too much retro is overkill, as that does little as far as gaining and keeping viewers. I’ve said this before, but here it is one mo’ time: nostalgia just doesn’t work when it’s overused. Networks should treat nostalgic programming as something to fill a time slot, not its’ bread-and-butter. Had Boomerang stuck with an all-classics format like the nostalgic fans want in its’ current ad-supported state, not only would I just not watch it very much (as I didn’t watch old Boomerang very much) but I can guarantee that Boom would’ve been remade into a CN/TBS clone inside of 2 years. Personally I don’t see why Boomerang has to be exclusively one or the other; surely there’s enough room on a 24/7 channel to accommodate the entire household?

This is what I would do with Boomerang if I were the one sitting in the big easy chair. Now I’ve been declared legally lazy by a physician, so I’m not going to type an entire schedule here, I’ll just list some highlights of what I’d put on Da Boom. Before starting, let’s get some things out of the way:

-If I could, I’d shorten the channel’s name to simply BOOM!

It’s a cartoon/comic book onomatopoeia and would reflect the channel’s embracing of animation as well as sounding new, exciting and spontaneous, plus it would silence the complainers crying “Boomerang needs to change its’ name because it’s not all classics anymore and the slogan ‘It’s all coming back to you’ is meaningless now!”.

I know Turner would never actually change the name since Boomerang is a global brand, but since this is a fantasy schedule for funsies, let’s act as though I could change the name. We’ll call this channel BOOM!

-There would be no live-action on this channel, except for host segments, live-action/animation hybrid shows and movies such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, puppets, costumed characters and Saturday Morning live-action shows which are basically like live-action cartoons, of which I’ll elaborate on below.

Teen Titans GO! and Gumball would not air on this channel; they would be exclusive to Cartoon Network. No need for CN and Boom to air the same shows; otherwise, what’s the point of having 2 channels?

-The Tom & Jerry Show, The Garfield Show and What’s New, Scooby-Doo? would still air on BOOM!, just not as frequently as they’re being run now. Pokemon would likewise still air here.

-Imports such as Mr. Bean: TAS, The Jungle Bunch and Skatoony would air here as well as internationally. There would also be new and original contemporary shows from around the world, as long as they’re fit for a general (kids and family) audience.

-I’ll be listing some shows as examples of what would or could run on BOOM!; again, this is hypothetical, so we’re pretending here that Turner would be able to run or acquire the broadcasting rights to the shows listed here. This is just so I can avoid typing “assuming that Turner could get the broadcasting rights” a gazillion times.

Some sample shows and programming blocks:

  • Planet Play– this would be a Qubo style block aimed at the younger kiddos, and would air weekday mornings with a longer encore airing on Saturday mornings. Some sample shows: Krypto the Superdog, Baby Looney Tunes, Masha and Bear, Peppa Pig, The Mr. Men Show, Shaun the Sheep, Pearlie, Turbo Dogs, Jacob Two-Two.
  • BLAM!– standing for Big Loud Animation Melee, this block would run from late mornings to early afternoons. It would be a spotlight for everyone’s favorite theatrical shorts shows, such as Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, the HB funny animal shorts (Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, etc.), The Pink Panther et al. The CN/Boom Wedgies would air as filler segments between the various shorts.
  • JUMP– Standing for Joyful Unlimited Maximum Play, this would be a weekday afternoon comedy block (featuring both animated and live-action shows), emphasizing big laughs and extreme fun. Shows would include the likes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!, My Parents are Aliens, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, The Funny Company, Channel Umptee-3, Maniac Mansion, Beetlejuice, The Twisted Whiskers Show, Johnny Test, Space Goofs, The Weird Al Show, Samurai Pizza Cats, Skatoony, My Spy Family, Viva Pinata, The Super Six, Video Power, and Round the Twist.
  • Cartoon Planet– this would be a mix of the original TBS/CN Cartoon Planet and the Best of CN block which aired on CN a year or so back. It would feature new wraparound segments hosted by Space Ghost, Zorak and Brak and would feature shorts from the Cartoon-Cartoons and other 90’s through 00’s CN toons. CP would either last 1 or 2 hours, depending on the schedule. Chowder would be relegated to this block.
  • That’s Warner Brothers!-A compilation of Silver Age WB comedies. Sample shows: Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, Taz-Mania, Duck Dodgers, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Pinky & the Brain.
  • Sparkle-who says girls don’t rule? This would be a block made for girl-centric cartoons, both comedy and action. Sample shows: Winx Club, Tara Duncan: TAS, Totally Spies!, Code: LYOKO, LoliRock, Ladybug. This block would air weekday afternoons with a weekend encore.
  • Kick!-a block for action/superhero toons. Sample shows: Batman: TAS, Superman: TAS, Batman Beyond, Justice League/Unlimited, Static Shock, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Men in Black: The Series, Teen Titans: TAS (not TTGO!). Like Sparkle, Kick! would air on weekday afternoons with a weekend encore.
  • Fun Zone– this would be a prime time premiere block airing on weekends, either with different schedules for Friday and Saturday nights or a single lineup premiering on Friday nights and an encore on Saturday nights, depending on how many new shows are available. Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! would air here. I’d also give The Aquabats! Super Show! a new home on this block.
  • HBTV– also known as HB Nation, this block would air prime time on Sunday nights. It would be a love letter to Hanna-Barbera, with new shows based on HB properties intermixed with new Shorties, Groovies and other shorts starring HB stars.
  • The Groove Tube-this block would air late nights, say at about 9, 10 or 11 PM, and would run for 2 or 3 hours. This would be where the retro shows would air. sample shows: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Underdog, Speed Racer, Voltron, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Popeye, The Three Stooges, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.
  • Saturday Morning Fever-a special Friday night edition of The Groove Tube , recreating the 60’s through late 80’s Saturday Morning experience. Sample shows: Land of the Lost, The Real Ghostbusters, Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch, H.R. Pufenstuf, Lidsville, Smurfs, Snorks, The Harlem/Super Globetrotters, Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp.

Well, that’s what I’d do anyway. One thing’s for sure: Boomerang needs to step its’ game up and get out of its’ programming rut, otherwise by the time we get to May, viewers may no longer care. Boomerang will be D.O.A. and this re-brand will have been for naught.

Saturday Morning Ain’t Dead…or Some Junk

I first read about this on Toon Zone, then again on Hobbyfan’s blog, Saturday Morning Archives.

Broadcast Partners has announced the triumphant return of Saturday Morning Cartoons…sort of…in the form of a syndication block.

Yeah, you might want to hold off on the Happy Dance until you get all the details. First, this 2 hour block will consist of the following 4 shows:

He-Man

 

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Yes, the same series from 1983 to 1986 produced by Filmation, which is gradually being phased out by Me-TV…

Casper’s Scare School, the latest series starring the lovably wimpy ghost, which CN got tired of in recent years…

George of the Jungle, not the Jay Ward original, but rather the Flash animated remake by Teletoon which aired on CN back around 2007-2008….

…And The New Adventures of Lassie, a 2014 toon which is the first new Lassie series in over 40 years. Here’s a trailer for the latter.

“Uhh…..yay?”

But wait, there’s more! This block is slated to air from….5 AM to 7AM.

M’kay, I think it’s now time for a little Reality Check.

Let’s be real here: no kid (or adult, for that matter) is going to get up with the chickens at 5 AM to watch any of these shows. He-Man is always good fun 80’s cheese, but I’m not getting up at 5 to watch it. I was one of the few people who didn’t hate that new George of the Jungle toon, but it’s not worth getting up at 5 AM to see. I wasn’t rushing home to look at Casper’s Scare School when CN was carrying it in the afternoon, and The New Adventures of Lassie just looks very generic, though I admit some of the character designs are nice.

This block faces an uphill battle; in addition to airing at an insanely early time, this block is syndicated when the syndication market is all but dead in this country (most syndicated venues which aren’t news shows, infotainment shows or court shows go to cable and satellite channels), add to that how none of these shows have any real E/I content, which will only serve to make this block a harder sell; of course He-Man has its’ little Aesops tacked on to the ends of each episode and Lassie probably has little nature facts and stuff, so the E/I label could be slapped onto those shows.

This has all the appearances of folks trying desperately to keep the Saturday Morning Cartoon block alive in some, any, way, shape or form. To that I say: I appreciate the effort, but it’s time to face the hard truth:

SatAM was a big part of a lot of peoples’ childhoods; heck, I’ll readily admit it was a HUGE part of mine: I was so into SatAM cartoons as a kid that I would often camp out in front of our TV in the living room in my sleeping bag on Friday nights. But that was before cable, satellite, the internet, video games with online multiplayer options,On-Demand, Blu-Ray or even VCRs. The hard truth is that the Saturday Morning broadcast TV block has been rendered obsolete; some people are only still trying to keep it around because of nostalgia. This block is syndicated, so it’s possible that some local station could air it later in the day or even on Sunday mornings, or maybe, maybe some cable station could pick it up and run it during a more desirable time slot, but today’s kids with their gadgets and doo-dads and wacky critter hats would rather wait until these shows go online and will stream them legally or watch them not-so-legally, if they show any interest in them at all. So while I applaud the attempt by Broadcast Partners to Keep Hope Alive, the statistical likelihood is that the end result of this will be…

Happy Trails to The Hub

Stick The Hub with a fork, ’cause it’s done.

Hub Network logo

HUB NETWORK
2010-2014
For months now, there have been rumors circulating that the network was in trouble and its’ future murky, well, apparently those weren’t just rumors. Deadline reports:
“The long-rumored takeover and rebranding of the children’s network is about to take place, The Wall Street Journal reports. Discovery  would acquire some of Hasbro’s share in the struggling joint venture — but still leave the toymaker with a sizable stake —  and then likely rename it Discovery Family. It would target parents as well as kids, and still enable Hasbro to program the channel from 9 AM to 3 PM.
 
While the deal isn’t complete yet, it’s being reported that the channel likely will become part of Group President Henry Schleiff’s growing fiefdom — which includes Investigation Discovery, Destination America, and the American Heroes Channel. The joint venture has had little success taking share in a crowded market dominated by Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, while kids advertising has declined, HUB had already expanded into family-oriented programming, airing movies in primetime and adding older-skewing fare like popular 1990s teen comedy series Blossom.”
So that would seem to be it for The Hub. Shame too, because the channel had so much potential. It takes most cable networks at least a decade or so to hit their decline, The Hub did it in just 4 years. That’s gotta be a record. The channel had much more diversity when it first hit the scene 4 years ago than it has now. Back when the Hub first launched in 2010, audience’s reaction was this:
…Now in 2014, it’s this:
Hasbro had big dreams for this network: they wanted to run with the Big Dogs and turn the Trinity of Kids and Family Networks, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, into a quartet, but while the Big 3 kids networks typically attract millions of viewers in a given broadcasting day, The Hub was lucky to score 100,000 viewers.
The Hub used to offer a variety of programs. There was at one time a preschool block called Hub-Bub and an action cartoon block called HuBoom!, but those shows were mishandled and lacking in premiere shows, so they were soon gone. However, while we’re a tad nonplussed by this news, we can’t say we’re too disappointed, seeing as how the only shows that we’re currently watching on The Hub (Now that The Aquabats Super Show! was given the boot) are My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Littlest Pet Shop, and even then, that’s only when it’s a new episode. Really, this was to be expected. The channel was hemorrhaging money, and yes, the kids’ entertainment market is indeed crowded right now with the Big Three (Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network) but they still could’ve managed to cut a swath or at least carved a niche for themselves had they not chosen to rely solely on My Little Pony and 80’s nostalgia to carry them along.
Over the past few years, Hasbro had become complacent, thinking that the success of MLP and the moderate success of LPS alone was enough to carry the network, and they allowed The Hub to essentially become the Ponies, Pets and Nostalgia Network, not a wise move considering Hasbro’s plan was for the Hub to join the ranks of Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. We can’t sum it up better than this post from the MLP forums:
“I knew Hasbro’s expectations for the Hub’s performance were unrealistically high from the start. After launch, they said that their goal was to become “half as big as Cartoon Network” in 5 years.
 
This is obviously not the case, and this is because Hasbro has failed on multiple fronts. They failed to adequately promote the network on a large scale since its launch, and they failed to distribute it wide enough where it would be on a level ground with Nick, Disney, and CN. Additionally, they expected to be able to do this with a relatively weak lineup. Besides the success of MLP and the moderate success of LPS, they tried to help themselves with only a short slate of original programming, most of it based on established franchises, while pinning the rest of their hopes on a full slate of reruns and imports. In the mature industry of today as opposed to the past, with all the competition, reruns and imports won’t really do you the best.”
Basically, Hasbro wanted to conquer the Seven Seas without leaving the comfort of their own bathtub. The Hub’s failings can be summed up by 2 main bullet points:
  1. Over-Reliance on Nostalgia, and
  2. Over-Reliance on Ponies and Pets.
A prime example of The Hub’s relying far too much on nostalgia is embodied by this promo:

This spot immediately got under my craw from the very first time I saw it, but I couldn’t figure out why it bugged me so much. I don’t fault Rob Paulsen and Jess Harnell for doing it, those guys are awesome and they’ve still got it, but something about this just left a burr under my saddle. Then, in the wake of recent events, it hit me: The Hub shouldn’t have been kissing up to Animaniacs (and later Tiny Toons) like this, touting them as their latest and greatest stars and having the stars of their other shows shining the Warners’ collective asses, because A! is 1) old and 2) over. If A! was being revived on The Hub and these were new, never before seen episodes, then the network could rightfully make a spot like this, since then they’d have something legitimate to brag about, but these were same old repeats which have previously aired on numerous other cable networks and currently are on DVD.  A! and TTA simply didn’t deserve this level of hype, especially not over their original programs. The spot just came off as a thinly veiled attempt by Hasbro to expand their Brony audience and attract more older viewers. There’s nothing wrong with lightly sprinkling some older nostalgic favorites around the schedule here and there, but too much nostalgia is just overkill, and it does very little to attract and gain viewers. A! and TTA went on to receive as much as 5 airings in a day, only for the nostalgia balloon to burst and for them to go back to just a single airing a day, which they should have been doing all along. To put it simply, nostalgia just doesn’t work when it’s overused. A network can’t, and shouldn’t rely solely on the classics to get by. Older acquisitions should be lightly peppered around non-peak viewing hours to fill those little gaps in the schedule; you don’t treat an older canceled acquisition like the Next Big Thing and the network’s savior. The notion that canceled reruns of A! would or could become The Hub’s next Brony phenomenon was quite frankly, stupid of The Hub. When Cartoon Network would occasionally bring back an older show, it will just air during the day for a little while and then disappear when something newer is available to air, and Nick doesn’t even bother digging up older shows for their main network since they have offshoot channels like TeeNick and Nicktoons for that. A show like A! is OK to show for a little while, but it should have only been treated as filler, not embraced by the network as the Holy Grail.

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This brings us to the second bullet point. They let the monster success of MLP and the moderate success of LPS become their crutches, and rather than developing other new and diverse shows based on their other toy properties as well as new originals and unique 3rd party acquisitions, they instead chose to simply repeat MLP 5 times a day and LPS another 4 days a day (to be fair, this is a common network practice: when a show proves successful, fill every available space with it; I’m looking at you, Simpsons, Family Guy and Spongebob), and in the process they tossed their other original series like Pound Puppies, Dan VS, The Aquabats Super Show, Kaijuto et all under the bus and eventually stopped developing new shows altogether outside of cheap-to-produce stuff like Kid President and Parents Just Don’t Understand. Come on, Hasbro. You’re the 3rd or 4th largest toy company in the world; you have dozens of toys and games at your disposal that you could have made shows out of, too many for you to only capitalize on MLP, LPS and Transformers. Where’s the new MASK cartoon? Where’s the new Jem show? (Though a Jem movie is said to be in the works.) Where’s the new C.O.P.S. show? Where’s the new Candy Land cartoon? Where’s the new Mr. Potato Head show? Where’s the new Play-Doh cartoon? Where’s the new Clue show or Monopoly show? I’m not saying shows based on those properties would all be masterpieces, but that would at least be a variety. Though personally I think a Monopoly show has the potential to be epic:
And Hub’s nighttime schedule was a joke: they just looped the same 10 B and C grade level movies again and again every night then cap off their evenings with a bunch of reruns of 1970’s and 1980’s sitcoms like some dime store Nick @ Nite. Running a bunch of old sitcoms during prime time was a PHENOMENALLY, HILARIOUSLY stupid idea, as that does little to nothing as far as attracting and keeping viewers for the simple fact that nostalgia is fleeting. No one is going to switch off the latest episode of True Blood or Arrow or The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time for a 40-year-old rerun of Happy Days. Silly Hasbro, nobody wants another TV Land, not even TV Land wants to be TV Land anymore.
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The statement that “in the mature industry of today as opposed to the past, with all the competition, reruns and imports won’t really do you the best” is quoted for truth, and to paraphrase Yoda, this is why Hub failed. They expected MLP, LPS and nostalgia to carry the entire network, which was a HUGE mistake, and they let their few first-run productions like Dan VS and Aquabats slip through their fingers in favor of the more “cost efficient” reruns and imports, another huge mistake. News flash, Hasbro: it’s not the 1980’s-1990’s anymore; a channel that consists mostly of repeats isn’t going to cut the mustard in today’s cutthroat industry. No one is going to rush home to watch a bunch of cancelled broadcast TV shows that they just as easily buy as entire series DVD sets at their local Wal-Mart or Best Buy for $20. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Hub needed a TGIF. It needed a SNICK. It needed a Cartoon-Cartoon Fridays. It needed a Miguzi. It needed a Funny For Your Face (and yeah, I know they had Animaniacs and Tiny Toons for a while, but acquisition rights don’t last forever and nostalgia is fleeting; what they needed were NEW shows done in the vein of those shows). Heck, it could have even stood a Secret Slumber Party/KEWLopolis. It needed some other new and original shows besides MLP that could appeal to multiple age groups across multiple platforms. While they did it as an effort to save money, dropping The Aquabats Super Show! was one of the single stupidest moves The Hub could make. It was a potential breakout hit which was watched equally by kids and parents alike. One major factor that did Aquabats and Dan VS in (aside from The Hub’s poor scheduling of the shows–seriously, who premieres new episodes to run on the middle of Saturday afternoons?) was that there weren’t any other shows like them on the network. For a while Hasbro tried to lump Dan in alongside of their action cartoons on the now-defunct HuBoom! block, but it really didn’t belong there; Dan stuck out just as badly alongside superhero cartoons as it did alongside MLP and the like. The only show Hub had that kind of clicked with Dan was Aquabats, since both shows were zany comedies which skewed slightly older than the rest of The Hub’s fare and were popular among adults, perhaps more so than with kids. Dan VS might have fared better premiering at night on a prime time block with similar skewing shows.If Hasbro had invested in some other older-skewing scripted comedies and put them all together on a premiere block, then both Dan VS and Aquabats might have found a sizable audience. As it was, those shows were all alone and badly scheduled and promoted.
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So now, Hasbro will be divesting in their share of the channel and Discovery will be taking over. The Ponies will still be around, at least for now, since there’s another 26-episode season coming in due time. Plus, MLP is currently The Hub’s biggest cash cow, so I doubt that Discovery would want to get rid of it. Of course, if Hasbro chooses to take the show to another network or make it an online exclusive like Mattel currently does with some of their current properties, that’s another story. I guess it’s a good thing that The Hub will still exist in some way, shape or form, but I have to say, I’m really not getting a savior vibe from Discovery. They’re the network that let Discovery Kids go to turd to begin with. Yes, Hasbro dropped the ball big time on this channel, but lets’ face it: Hasbro’s stepping in was the best thing to happen to Discovery Kids. Hasbro made a lot of wrong moves, but they did manage to get some decent shows and properties out of the channel that people like(d) to watch and talk(ed) about. When was the last time you heard anybody talk about Discovery Kids? While it’s true that The Hub as of late hasn’t been that great, I really have a hard time believing that Discovery can make the channel any better. If Discovery knew how to run a family oriented cable channel in the first place then Hasbro wouldn’t have had to bail them out in the second place. If Discovery’s idea of saving this channel is polluting the airwaves with more reality shows about junkyard pickers, Amish mafiosos and bacon enthusiasts, then this re-branded channel is dead before it’s even started. I cringe at the thought of this channel becoming another TLC; one TLC is more than enough. And if this channel is really going to undergo a rebrand, I really hope they can come up with a better name than Discovery Family. For one thing, DiscFam sounds too similar to Discovery Kids, and NO ONE is begging for the return of that channel. For another, “Discovery Family” is 7 syllables, the name takes too long to say. Channel names have to be short and memorable. For yet another, placing the word “family” in a channel’s name can often result in the channel being DOA, as many viewers equate “family friendly entertainment” with “transmitting bland garbage that’s so tame, watered down and homogenized that only Quakers and heart patients can enjoy it”. Of course it’s possible that Discovery has something amazing in store for The Hub and they’re just keeping it under wraps, but frankly, I’m not getting that feeling.
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Personally, we discussed what we would do with Hub Network. We would place the channel’s emphasis on comedy and fun and aim it towards kids and teens during the daylight hours and adults during the nighttime hours. Basically it would be Nickelodeon during the day and HA! at night. There’s be a block of original and 3rd party edutainment shows for younger kids and preschoolers in the mornings, blocks of acquired cartoon favorites and teen sitcoms in the afternoons, a block of girl-centric shows such as Ladybug and LoliRock, an block of action cartoons and superhero shows such as Max Steel and Super Sentai, music videos and shows about video games, extreme sports, comic books and manga/anime, at night we’d air reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000 every night from 8 PM to 10 PM except on Friday and Saturday nights, which would be devoted to original premiere programming blocks and on Sunday nights we’d run an “art house” animated short show, a show spotlighting memorable cartoons, the making of them and giants of the animation industry (think Cartoon Network’s Toon Heads meets G4’s Icons), nights would consist of an original parody newscast, a riff show, a sketch comedy show, a hidden camera prank show, a mini-block of “edgier” adult cartoons both Western and anime (sort of an Adult Swim lite), a show featuring stand-up routines accompanied by visualizations and comedy clips from around the world (think Turkey Television meets Mash-Up), a block of British comedies, a classic sitcom block and a block of classic cartoons from the baby boomer era. We’d call this channel POP or KABOOM TV, but you don’t have to. Not saying this is the best way or the only way, but it is a way.
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So for now, that would seem to a wrap for The Hub. No date has been announced for the rebrand yet, (EDIT: Hub Network officially switches to Discovery Family on October 13, 2014.) but for all intents and purposes, The Hub is just running on fumes now, waiting to be snapped up and recycled into something else. Hasbro had a potentially pretty decent thing going for a while, pity that shortsightedness and a lack of imagination killed it. So we at Twinsanity say…..