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Margaret Loesch Will Run Hasbro-Discovery Network

Discovery Communications and Hasbro said they’ve hired kids’ programming veteran Margaret Loesch as CEO of the yet-unnamed new network that will take the place of the Discovery Kids channel in fall 2010.

The former chief of Crown Media/Hallmark Channel and of Fox Kids Network will start on Aug. 17, based in Los Angeles. The JV was announced in April. Hasbro agreed to pay Discovery $300 million for the half-stake in the network and venture.

The companies said her resume includes the development and production of some iconic children’s television fare, such as Smurfs, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, Animaniacs, Transformers and  pre-school educational series Bear in the Big Blue House.

She also led Marvel Comics’ film production arm, Marvel Productions, and most recently co-founded family media company The Hatchery.  She 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.

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.

“Margaret is the perfect match for the network that Hasbro and Discovery are developing,” Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said in a release.  “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,” Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav said in the release. “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 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.