×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Donna Ebbs: Cooking up ‘Haunting’ ratings success

Youth Impact Report 2012: Channeling Talent

Ever since replacing Discovery Kids last October, youth-oriented cabler The Hub has been on a steady rise, in July delivering the largest audience in its short history in target demographics of kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and overall households.

Key to this growth has been a savvy mix of original content overseen by Donna Ebbs, The Hub’s senior VP of programming.

Along with fresh spins on familiar animated brands (“My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic,” “Transformers Prime”) and game shows (“Family Game Night”), The Hub has found a signature live-action series in the spooky anthology “R.L. Stine’s the Haunting Hour.” Inspired by the work of best-selling young adult and kid-lit author Stine, the “Twilight Zone”-like skein provides the chance to spotlight different young performers with every episode.

“Kids love to be scared,” says Ebbs. “There is just no other place on TV for this genre right now.”

Not surprisingly, the show has also proven popular with young actors, attracting notable guest stars, including Ariel Winter and Nolan Gould from “Modern Family” and Booboo Stewart and Mackenzie Foy from “The Twilight Saga.” “Word of mouth has started to spread,” Ebbs says. “The kids know it; they want to do it. I think they have a blast with it because they aren’t offered roles like this very often.”

That was the attraction for “The Hunger Games” co-star Willow Shields, who recently filmed an episode for the third season.

“There’s some mysterious stuff in it, and it was a fun, kid-friendly thing to work on,” Shields says.

“The Haunting Hour” landed six Daytime Emmy nominations for its second season, including one for young actor Dakota Goyo (“Real Steel”).

Impact: Net scares up a young aud with anthology horror series “R.L. Stine’s the Haunting Hour.”
Next: A series adaptation of Christopher Pike’s “Spooksville” children’s horror novels is slated for an early 2013 bow.
Causes: Generation On, the youth division of the Points of Light Institute.

Return to the Youth Impact Report 2012 >>

Popular on Variety

More Voices

  • Fleabag Succession Emmys

    Could 'Fleabag' and 'Succession' Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

    At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild [...]

  • Climate Mobilization

    Marshall Herskovitz: Why the Climate Crisis Needs Movie Marketing-Style Muscle

     I’ve lived inside the climate-communications conundrum for 20 years, working with scientists, academics and activists to find ways to convince Americans that something they couldn’t see or feel was nevertheless a looming catastrophe worth upending their lives to fight. Now the climate crisis is undeniable, and we are finally seeing the beginnings of concerted action. [...]

  • Renée Zellweger, Adam Driver Gain Oscar

    Telluride: Oscar Buzz Builds For Renée Zellweger, Adam Driver and 'The Two Popes'

    This year’s Telluride Film Festival began on Thursday with the Guest/Patron Brunch on a private estate about a 30-minute drive from the center of town. Eggs, bacon and fruit salad were being served as the sun was shining on Martin Scorsese, Adam Driver, Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Ken Burns, Ric Burns, [...]

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    Telluride: Audience Laughs and Cries During 'The Two Popes' World Premiere

    Little did the audience at the world premiere of “The Two Popes” know that the papal two-hander is actually very funny. No, it’s not a comedy, but the jokes and ribbing between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and the future pope, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), played well in the packed Chuck Jones’ Cinema, as did [...]

  • Renee Zwllweger in Judy

    Telluride: Renée Zellweger Will Return to the Oscars With 'Judy'

    The Oscars love actors playing alcoholic, drug-addicted singers. Last year, Rami Malek took home the big prize for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” beating out Bradley Cooper for his work as the fictional Jackson Maine in “A Star Is Born.” Over the years, we’ve seen Jamie Foxx win for “Ray,” Jeff Bridges [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content