Hasbro and Discovery have struck a deal to revitalize the flagging Discovery Kids Network, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hasbro, manufacturer of Transformers and GI Joe, will buy a 50% stake in Discovery Kids for $300 million. The company plans to emphasize merchandise based on programming on the network, which will be renamed before its launch next year.
"TV is the next step for us to relaunch and reinvent our brands," Hasbro’s CEO said. Few will argue that Discovery Kids Network, too, needs revitalizing—the channel is an abject ratings failure. Consumer activists pounced at the coupling of TV and toys: "This sounds like nothing more than a scheme to deliver program-length advertisements to children," said Commercial Alert, a TV watchdog group.