Discovery Communications and toymaker Hasbro will rework their ownership of cable’s kid-focused Hub outlet so that Discovery will take more control of the property and rework it into a broader outlet focused on family entertainment, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The report said Discovery would take a controlling interest in the property, which had been a joint venture, leaving Hasbro with a smaller stake and the ability to control six hours of programming during the day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The news outlet cited “people close to the talks” as the source of the information.
The two companies are in negotiations, according to a person familiar with the situation, but have yet to finalize a deal.
“We don’t comment on speculation,” said Julie Duffy, a Hasbro spokeswoman, via email. ” Discovery and Hasbro have enjoyed a successful relationship over the past four years and we look forward to continuing to work together to bring entertaining and award winning programming to children and families.”
A spokeswoman for Hub declined to comment, referring an inquiry to Discovery Communications. A spokeswoman for the Silver Spring, Md., concern said executives were not available for comment.
The network has seemed troubled in recent months. Margaret Loesch, the kidvid veteran who worked for legendary animator Hanna-Barbera and ran Fox Kids for a time, announced in June that she intended to step down as CEO of Hub by the end of 2014. She did so after unveiling a plan that would reshape the network’s primetime schedule to appeal to parents and kids, abandoning repeats of old sitcoms in favor of originals.
Despite making headway with “My Little Pony,” a cartoon based on the popular Hasbro toy, The Hub had trouble making a dent in Viacom’s Nickelodeon empire and Walt Disney’s suite of kid-and-tweens-focused networks.
Henry Schlieff, a Discovery executive who supervises a suite of “emerging” properties such as Destination America, Investigation Discovery and American Heroes Channel, will supervise the reworked outlet, which is expected to be renamed Discovery Family, according to The Wall Street Journal report.
[Updated: 1:42 PM PT]