Margaret Loesch to Lead Hasbro-Discovery Cable Network

{mosimage}She's not just heading the new Hasbro-Discovery cable network, she was also former CEO of Marvel Productions and was one of the producers of the original Generation 1 cartoon at the time! Even though the joint venture has drawn criticism, mostly Hasbro, Loesch points out that Hasbro "understand this can't be a channel devoted to toys. . . . That would not succeed," and that "[she] would not have taken [the] job." Having also ran Fox Kids during its heyday ("Might Morphin' Power Rangers" and "X-Men"), she points out that "when we built Fox Kids, they were primarily watching television; now we have to make sure we provide an experience on all these different platforms."

Read the press release from Hasbro and the LA Times article!

Margaret Loesch to Lead Hasbro-Discovery Communications Joint Venture Television Network

Award-winning industry veteran named President and CEO of multi-platform venture

PAWTUCKET, R.I., and SILVER SPRING, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul. 16, 2009– Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) today announced that children’s entertainment veteran Margaret Loesch has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the companies’ multi-platform joint venture. The yet-to-be-named network is expected to premiere in Fall 2010 reaching approximately 60 million U.S. households on what is currently Discovery Kids channel. Loesch will assume her new position on August 17th and will be based in Los Angeles.

The winner of multiple Emmy and other industry awards, Loesch has almost four decades of unparalleled success in children’s and family entertainment. Her extensive resume includes the development and production of some of the most iconic programs in children’s television, such as Smurfs, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, Animaniacs, Transformers and the award-winning pre-school educational series Bear in the Big Blue House, among many others.

As a chief executive, Loesch’s experience includes the launch and international expansion of Fox Kids Network, the creation of the U.S. Hallmark Channel, leadership of Marvel Comics’ film production arm, Marvel Productions, and, most recently, the co-founding of family media company, The Hatchery. She also serves on the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, producers of educational children’s programs, including Sesame Street, and is on the advisory board of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media.

“Margaret is the perfect match for the network that Hasbro and Discovery are developing,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s President and CEO. “Her consistent track record of creating groundbreaking children’s programming and successfully launching new networks is a blueprint for what we want this joint venture to be. We look forward to working with Margaret, and the team she assembles, to build a powerful and immersive new destination for family entertainment that engages both children and parents alike.”

“Margaret’s experience and accomplishments speak for themselves,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. “She has not only succeeded time and time again in the children’s and family entertainment space, but also she has demonstrated a true passion for the type of high-quality content that is at the heart of Hasbro’s and Discovery’s missions. Margaret has the creative vision and business acumen, as well as the values and dedication to high-quality entertainment and educational programming to lead this joint venture.”

As President and CEO of the Hasbro-Discovery Communications joint venture, Loesch will oversee all business and creative areas of the rebranded television channel and multi-platform media venture. She will report to the joint venture’s board of directors, composed equally of representatives from Hasbro and Discovery.

“The opportunity to work with Hasbro and Discovery – two companies that are synonymous with quality, values and success – is the type of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could not resist,” said Loesch. “Since I started in the children’s entertainment industry, I have believed there always is a yearning among viewers for high-quality, family-friendly entertainment filled with positive messages and built on strong and engaging brands, characters and stories. With Hasbro’s world-class brands and Discovery’s established distribution strength, we have the tools to address that yearning and create a network and programming that will entertain, inform and truly resonate with viewers.”

During her extensive career in the children’s and family entertainment industry, Loesch has held senior roles with a number of leading companies as both a creative and business executive. This includes tenures as: Executive Vice President of Hanna-Barbera Productions, where she oversaw the development and production of over 500 hours of programming, including Richie Rich, The World’s Greatest Superfriends and Smurfs; President and CEO of Marvel Productions, where she executive produced multiple hit series including Transformers, G.I. Joe, Dungeons and Dragons, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and oversaw a tenfold increase in revenue; and, President of Television, Worldwide of the Jim Henson Group, where she served as executive producer of Bear in the Big Blue House. Loesch’s prior experience also includes work with ABC and NBC.

In 1990, Loesch became the founding President and CEO of Fox Kids Network, Worldwide, which expanded under her leadership into Latin America, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In 1998, she was named the first President and CEO of Crown Media United States and its U.S. Hallmark Channel.

Among Loesch’s industry awards are four Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, a Vision Award, and the prestigious Chair Award from the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers, and Directors.

Announced in April 2009, the Hasbro-Discovery Communications joint venture 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.

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, planned for Fall 2010. Following the debut, Discovery Communications will retain the Discovery Kids brand for, among other things, its international networks and its licensing and merchandising business.

About Hasbro

Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time products and services with a rich portfolio of brands and entertainment properties that provides some of the highest quality and most recognizable play and recreational experiences in the world. As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and digital, under such powerful brand names as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at http://www.hasbro.com. (C) 2009 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6008484⟨=en

Source: Hasbro

Hasbro, Inc. – Media Contact
Wayne Charness, 401-727-5983
wcharness@hasbro.com
or
Hasbro, Inc. – Investor Relations Contact:
Karen Warren, 401-727-5401
kwarren@hasbro.com
or
Discovery Communications — Media Contacts:
Michelle Russo, 240-662-2901
Michelle_Russo@discovery.com
or
Chris Finnegan, 301-742-3921
Chris_Finnegan@discovery.com
or
Discovery Communications — Investor Relations Contact:
Craig Felenstein, 212-548-5109
Craig_Felenstein@discovery.com

– – – – – –

LA Times

Kids vet Margaret Loesch to run Hasbro-Discovery cable network, Joe Flint
11:07 AM PT, Jul 16 2009

Veteran kids programming executive Margaret Loesch has been tapped to run the new cable network being launched by Discovery Communications and toy giant Hasbro Inc.

The unnamed channel, which is set to launch late next year, has already drawn a fair amount of criticism from media watchdogs because of Hasbro's involvement. The well-regarded Loesch, who ran Fox Broadcasting's kids programming unit during its "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers"and "X-Men" heyday, says the channel won't be a shill for Hasbro products.

"They understand this can't be a channel devoted to toys. . . . That would not succeed," Loesch said, adding that if Hasbro didn't embrace that, "I would not have taken this job."

The channel, which is taking the slot currently occupied by Discovery Kids, should launch in about 60 million homes. It will face intense competition from already-entrenched networks including Viacom's Nickelodeon, Disney's Disney Channel and its new Disney XD and Time Warner's Cartoon Network. 

Loesch, who also ran the Hallmark Channel for Crown Media and most recently has been producing movies, says that while the cable competition is intense, she is just as concerned about all the other media platforms she'll be facing off against besides traditional TV.

"When we built Fox Kids, they were primarily watching television; now we have to make sure we provide an experience on all these different platforms," she said.

 

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