New kid-centric cable channel The Hub hasn’t even debuted yet, but it’s already receiving a lot of criticism from parental and consumer watchdog groups, not because its programming is too violent or racy, but because it’s co-owned by toy and game giant Hasbro.
The Hub, a partnership between Hasbro and Discovery Communications, will feature a decent portion of programming based on products from the toy company, like G.I. Joe, My Little Pony and Transformers. And then there’s a show like Family Game Night, where contestants play live versions of Hasbro board games like Cranium, Twister and Yahtzee.
“The notion of a toy company owning a television channel for the sole purpose of promoting their toys is egregious practice,” said Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which recently lodged a complaint with the FTC regarding the new NickToons show Zevo-3, which they allege is nothing but a 30-minute ad for Skechers sneakers.
Meanwhile The Hub’s CEO defends the channel to the L.A. Times:
“There have been many shows created just to try to help move toy lines that have come and gone very quickly,” Loesch said. The proportion of programs that the Hub will carry based on Hasbro toys and games is less than 20%, she said, “a very small piece of a much larger mosaic.”
We know a lot of you are parents. At the very least, most — if not all — of you were children at some point. So we wanted to get your opinion on whether or not a toy company should be in the broadcasting business: