Loesch: Hub chief generates steam in kids arena

Women's Impact Report 2011: Margaret Loesch

Margaret Loesch is on vacation, but she’s not resting. “I’ve been really committed to my hometown, and trying to give back and rebuild,” says Loesch by phone from the little house in coastal Mississippi she’s restoring. “I really love the area.”

Loesch runs the Hub, Discovery Communications’ new joint venture with Hasbro, which has been turning heads since its launch in October. The network is slowly gaining steam — it’s in 62 million households and gaining — and Loesch, whose career in kids’ entertainment goes back decades, has grabbed talent like “Star Trek” scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to produce a new generation of kidnet programming.

Loesch doesn’t mince words: it’s a tough gig. “It’s one of the most competitive markets I’ve worked in in my career,” she says, “because it’s now controlled by a few companies with huge stakes. The costs are higher, the competition is greater.”

Hasbro, however, seems pleased — the toy company observed that television-related programming had helped boost its second-quarter revenues in its July second quarter earnings report.

For Loesch, it all comes back to the littlest viewers — and they tend to be folks who aren’t impressed by marketing and salesmanship. “Kids are unbelievably discerning, and the word of mouth!” Loesch says with a laugh. “Kids can kill a project faster than anybody. They detect a lack of authenticity faster than any other section of the audience.”

To narrow it down to one syllable, if it’s for kids, then it has to be good. Loesch’s resume includes quite a few hits — “Batman: The Animated Series,” as well as the original “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers” cartoons. And now that she’s been tasked with reinventing some of those properties, she’s happy to take on the challenge.

“Right or wrong, Discovery and Hasbro have entrusted me to try and grow this company, and that was what I’d hoped they’d do,” she says. “I told them, ‘Just let me do my thing here,’ and they said, ‘Terrific!’ ”

Title: President & CEO, the Hub
Role models: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Career mantra: “Don’t ask of other people more than you’re ready to give.”
Leisure pursuits: “I have a 23-year-old son, and I try to hang around with him.”
Philanthropic passion: Generation On