Hasbro and Discovery Announce New Television Network (Plans for new G.I.Joe & Transformers Series In The Works)

by Jay Cochran
April 30, 2009
Conference Call Details

- Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner hinted on a conference call to shareholders that they would be working on a new Transformers series for sometime after "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", most likely in 2010. The same goes for a new G.I.Joe series.

- Cartoon Network has the exclusive right to Transformers: Animated which currently airs on that network and if they wished to pursue the continuation of that series they could.

- The possibilities of shows from the 80's and 90's Hasbro library content to air on this network is a possibility though they mainly want to focus on new content.

- Goldner also made some hints that a possible "Stretch Armstrong" movie could be in the works with Universal Pictures and that a series on the new network would be forthcoming afterwards.

- For International viewers, shows made for this new network would continue to be made available to networks in other countries, just like existing Hasbro based shows are now.

- The actual name for this new network and specific programming will be revealed later as we get closer to the 2010 launch date for it.



Hasbro, Inc. and Discovery Communications today announced an agreement to form a 50/50 joint venture, including a television network and website, dedicated to high-quality children's and family entertainment and educational programming built around some of the most well-known and beloved brands in the world. As part of the transaction, the joint venture also will receive a minority interest in the U.S. version of Hasbro.com.

Both the network and the venture's online component will feature content from Hasbro's rich portfolio of entertainment and educational properties built over the past 90 years, including original programming for animation, game shows, and live-action series and specials. New programming will be based on brands such as ROMPER ROOM, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, SCRABBLE, CRANIUM, MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE, GAME OF LIFE, TONKA and TRANSFORMERS, among many others. The TV network and online presence also will include content from Discovery's extensive library of award-winning children's educational programming, such as BINDI THE JUNGLE GIRL, ENDURANCE, TUTENSTEIN, HI-5, FLIGHT 29 DOWN and PEEP AND THE BIG WIDE WORLD, as well as programming from third-party producers.

"Hasbro continues to evolve as a company with an unwavering vision of reimagining the potential of our incredible portfolio of brands well beyond traditional toys and games," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's President and CEO. "Today, consumers are embracing our powerful brands through unique and immersive entertainment and educational experiences in a number of areas, including movies and new digital platforms.

"We believe the time is right for Hasbro to take the next step into television through our partnership with Discovery Communications," continued Goldner. "David Zaslav and his talented team have the experience, track record and ambition necessary to make this joint venture a long-term success as we build this network. We look forward to creating fun, stimulating and educational content that will allow us to deliver all-new brand experiences to the young and 'young at heart' - anywhere and anytime they want."

"This joint venture reinforces Discovery's strategy to develop strong brands, maximize the potential of our extensive distribution in the U.S. and work with the highest quality content partners to create long-term value," said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. "Brian Goldner and the dynamic management team at Hasbro have a long track record of developing well-respected quality brands that entertain and encourage creative play. The combined assets of both partners provide a compelling platform for building a trusted children's destination that engages and enlightens a thirsty and growing audience."

At the closing of the transaction, Hasbro will purchase a 50% stake in the venture, which will hold the assets related to Discovery Kids Network in the U.S., for which Discovery Communications will receive $300 million. The joint venture's rebranded network is expected to debut in late 2010 reaching approximately 60 million Nielsen households in the U.S. with programming geared to boys and girls 14 years of age and under. The joint venture also will participate in merchandising opportunities associated with on-air content. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including satisfaction of all requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Each company will have equal representation on a board of directors that will oversee a management team responsible for programming, scheduling and operations. The search for a President and General Manager for the network will begin immediately. Discovery Communications will handle advertising sales services, distribution, origination and other operational requirements for the proposed venture, while Hasbro will provide studio-produced programming.

Hasbro will also make a separate investment to establish a creative team that will allow Hasbro to create and produce the consumer-driven content children and families have come to expect from Hasbro's unmatched brands. Creative work will start in the next few months beginning with early stage development for properties including ROMPER ROOM, TONKA, G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS and MY LITTLE PONY. The creative team will have the capability to produce animated, live-action, and game show programming as well as content designed for digital and mobile extensions.

Programming on the network will be designed to entertain and educate, echoing the popularity and appeal of Hasbro's portfolio of brands and Discovery's long-standing commitment to life-long learning with the goal of making our emerging networks more valuable to affiliates and more compelling for viewers. In the tradition of Discovery Kids, this will include a number of daily hours voluntarily devoted to educational/informative content.

The network will continue to operate as Discovery Kids until the debut of the to-be-named channel and new programming slate. Discovery Communications will retain the Discovery Kids brand for, among other things, its international networks and its licensing and merchandising business.

Launched in 1996, Discovery Kids Channel has won multiple Daytime Emmys and Parents' Choice Awards for its series and specials. Discovery Kids programming helps children satisfy their curiosity about a full range of science, adventure, exploration and natural history topics through documentaries, reality shows, scripted dramas and animated stories.

Hasbro was advised by The William Morris Agency (WMA), John Fogelman of WMA and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch & Co. in connection with this transaction.

Discovery was advised by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Conference Call and Webcast Details

At 8:15 a.m. Eastern today, Hasbro President and CEO Brian Goldner and Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav will host a conference call for media to discuss the new joint venture. To access the conference call, in the U.S. dial 1-800-573-4842, or outside of the U.S. dial 1-617-224-4327, and use the following passcode: 59518157. A live webcast and replay of the call also will be available on Discovery Communications' website at www.discoverycommunications.com and Hasbro's website at www.hasbro.com.

At 8:45 a.m. Eastern today, Hasbro President and CEO Brian Goldner and Hasbro Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer David Hargreaves will host a conference call for Hasbro investors to further discuss the new joint venture. Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav and Discovery CFO Brad Singer also will join the call. To access the Hasbro investor conference call, in the U.S. dial 800-768-6544, or outside of the U.S. dial 785-830-7990. A live webcast of the call will be available on Hasbro's website at https://investor.hasbro.com/ and click on the webcast microphone. The replay will be available on Hasbro's web site approximately 2 hours following completion of the call.



Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
Roadpigmaster - 2009-05-03 @ 1:48 pm

Sounds great to me.

Now with New dvds od the Original GI JOE cartoon, new video game, new movie, new cartoon, everything is going on the right path for good things for the brand!

Roadpigmaster - 2009-05-03 @ 1:45 pm

Sounds great to me.

Now with New dvds od the Original GI JOE cartoon, new video game, new movie, new cartoon, everything is going on the right path for good things for the brand!

Viper Hunter - 2009-05-01 @ 11:19 pm
I'm wondering if CN will continue with TFA now just to keep hasbro from using the competition? make a very minimum amount of episodes or something. Might do the same with resolute but i highly doubt it. I think if the movie does even somewhat well it will be more similar to that or sigma six than resolute.

It won't matter, I likely won't get the channel as it will probably be in the next bracket up on the satelite. If we were allowed to buy a channel at a time things would be so much more honest and fair. I wouldn't have to pay for stuff i didn't approve of and I could easily just live on 10-15 channels. If this one had joe it would likely be on the list.

We wonder why more and more Americans are growing up mentally re... @hmmm@ errr...I mean to say uneducated and socially uncivilized, when the poor people get all the garbage stuff and education and more socially acceptable material is over priced?

Example...?

All the BASIC programming packages contain anything that features offensive "adult" cartoon or comedy channels and "reality TV" infested crap like VH1, MTV or Oxygen!

You'd think it would be just the opposite? No?

pesatyel - 2009-05-01 @ 3:51 pm
Does a Stretch Armstrong movie really need to be made? What possible story could they come up with that isn't completely laughable? That may have worked 15 years ago as a Saturday morning cartoon but really...its like they're scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas.

You know....there -are- people in this world other than twenty and thirty-something year old G.I. Joe fans. Not everything needs to be taken so seriously either...Stretch Armstrong could very well be a deliberate comedy. Nobody said they're making "Stretch Armstrong: Resolute."

This isn't just going to be the "G.I. Joe/Transformers channel." It's a kid-targeted channel with a lot of different things airing on it. I fail to see why Stretch Armstrong is inherently any less marketable than any of the other brands the channel will have going for it. Just because you might not like it doesn't mean there isn't an audience for it.

Well that begs the question of how how popular such, rather obscure, things like Stretch Armstrong ARE. I could easily see shows like M.A.S.K. or My Little Pony.

Another factor to consider IS toyline associated with such shows. Merchandizing is still big business and it wouldn't make a lot of sense to do a show (about toys) and NOT do a toyline to go with it.

But then this IS a "Discovery" so they might not be so necessary.

Jmacq1 - 2009-05-01 @ 1:28 pm
Does a Stretch Armstrong movie really need to be made? What possible story could they come up with that isn't completely laughable? That may have worked 15 years ago as a Saturday morning cartoon but really...its like they're scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas.

You know....there -are- people in this world other than twenty and thirty-something year old G.I. Joe fans. Not everything needs to be taken so seriously either...Stretch Armstrong could very well be a deliberate comedy. Nobody said they're making "Stretch Armstrong: Resolute."

This isn't just going to be the "G.I. Joe/Transformers channel." It's a kid-targeted channel with a lot of different things airing on it. I fail to see why Stretch Armstrong is inherently any less marketable than any of the other brands the channel will have going for it. Just because you might not like it doesn't mean there isn't an audience for it.

die fighting x - 2009-05-01 @ 12:54 pm
I take it a network like this would not just be on basic cable.

The network already exists, it's called discovery kids. So check your cable line-up to see if you have it. The network will be re-branding itself in 2010 under the new partnership with Hasbro.

Well, I can just see the premium cable rates jumping up another $10 a month, now that HASBRO is involved?

No, you just wont be able to "find" the channel despite reports of other people on the forum in your area watching the new series.

A_Spidey_Fan - 2009-05-01 @ 5:41 am

Discovery Kids is a learning and education channel meant for kids and at least early teens. YTV in Canada has actually aired a few of the Discovery Kids shows(Well, the ones produce in Canada), and some of them aren't too bad. I think some U.S. Discovery Kids shows are aired on Saturday mornings on NBC or CBS(Could be wrong on that). With the rebanding in 2010, sounds like Hasbro will still be doing some educational theme shows(Including the continuation of some Discovery Kids shows. I'm assuming that if they do any shows based on Borad Games, many of them will be Game Shows for kids), but also some entertainment shows as well, at least targeted for 14 and under(Right now, I don't seem them doing really any mature theme shows).

I have a funny feeling that if Hasbro needed to do a learning/educational type G.I. Joe show, they will use the Adventure Team brand/theme of show, since the Adventure Team stuff is usually Joe V.S. Nature(Beasts/animals and Enviroment). Of course, they could have a few human aversaries, such as poachers, hunters(Example: Say Joe has an mission to capture a animal, he may have to deal with some hunters who want to kill the animal for the black market if he wants to complete his mission), etc., and maybe some supernatural base as well(Example: Bigfoot, Yeti, that alien race the toyline featured in the 1970's, etc). And I beleive it can be done in a way that doesn't dumb things down for kids when they provide the educational stuff(I'm not talking about Dora The Explour based education either. I'm more thinking something for 10-14 year olds. Info they can use to help if they had say a school project on tigers or something). And if they do a new Joe V.S. Cobra cartoon series, use that for the entertainment aspect.

Therefore, 2 new Joe shows, with 2 different themes and objectives: 1 with a learning based, the other entertainment based.

hamsterboy - 2009-05-01 @ 5:08 am

I already get the channel just don't watch it. Too much "educational" stuff for my tastes.

revSears - 2009-05-01 @ 4:38 am

I'm wondering if CN will continue with TFA now just to keep hasbro from using the competition? make a very minimum amount of episodes or something. Might do the same with resolute but i highly doubt it. I think if the movie does even somewhat well it will be more similar to that or sigma six than resolute.

It won't matter, I likely won't get the channel as it will probably be in the next bracket up on the satelite. If we were allowed to buy a channel at a time things would be so much more honest and fair. I wouldn't have to pay for stuff i didn't approve of and I could easily just live on 10-15 channels. If this one had joe it would likely be on the list.

Viper Hunter - 2009-04-30 @ 9:30 pm
I take it a network like this would not just be on basic cable.

The network already exists, it's called discovery kids. So check your cable line-up to see if you have it. The network will be re-branding itself in 2010 under the new partnership with Hasbro.

Well, I can just see the premium cable rates jumping up another $10 a month, now that HASBRO is involved?

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