New G.I. Joe and Transformers shows to air in 2010


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Hasbro is partnering with Discovery Communications to take a 50% stake in the Discovery Kids cable channel.

Outlet will relaunch in late 2010 under a new name, and airing original programming based on Hasbro properties such as Scrabble, Cranium, G.I. Joe, Tonka, Transformers, Trivial Pursuit and Romper Room.

Current Discovery Kids fare, such as "Bindi the Jungle Girl," "Hi-5" and "Flight 29 Down" will also continue to be included in the new set up.

As part of the deal, the joint venture will also take a minority interest in

Deal reps the latest move by Discovery under topper David Zaslav to make over its cable nets. Discovery previously formed a 50/50 venture with Oprah Winfrey to turn the Discovery Health Network into the new OWN channel; it also relaunched Discovery Home as Planet Green.

It's also the latest prong in Hasbro's Hollywood strategy. Hasbro earlier pacted with Universal, which has turned its properties into movies such as "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and is also developing a movie based on the board game "Candy Land."

Hasbro prexy/CEO Brian Goldner said the company is now "reimagining the potential of our incredible portfolio of brands well beyond traditional toys and games."

Under the joint venture, Discovery Communications will receive $300 million for the assets related to Discovery Kids Network in the U.S. A board of directors will be formed with equal representation from both sides; Discovery will oversee ad sales, distribution and other operations, while Hasbro will handle studio programming.

Also, Hasbro said it will put together a creative team to create projects based on "Romper Room," Tonka, "G.I. Joe," "Transformers" and "My Little Pony." The channel, geared toward kids under 14, will also continue to air educational/informational content, both sides said.

Recruitment is now underway for a president and general manager for the channel.

"The combined assets of both partners provide a compelling platform for building a trusted children's destination," Zaslav said.

The channel, which is expected to be in nearly 60 million homes at relaunch, will continue to be run as Discovery Kids for now. Discovery will continue to hold rights to the Discovery Kids name for its international networks, as well as licensing and merchandising.

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