Hub TV Network Advised on Children’s Programming

You wouldn’t think that shows with names such as “Pound Puppies,” “Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures,” “The Twisted Whiskers Show” and “The WotWots” would be the ideal forum for health and safety messages.

After all, the Hub TV Channel, a joint venture of Discovery Communications Inc. and Hasbro, creates straight-on programming for children—mostly aimed at the younger set in that category—along with their families. Sure, the content can sometimes skew to an audience that’s a bit older, with “R.L. Stine’s the Haunting Hour,” “Transformers” and an occasional movie such as “Beetlejuice.” (Don’t worry, parents, there’s ample warning about the scary stuff.)

But all kids, it seems, are an ideal audience when it comes to gently introducing messages with health and safety themes, and that’s why Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of Hollywood, Health & Society, was invited to address the creative team and advisory board of the Hub TV Channel on Jan. 20 in Burbank. 

Opening with a quote from jazz legend Charles Mingus, Buffington said: “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” It lays the groundwork for reaching people through effective communication and good ideas, she added.

In her presentation, Buffington showed that Hollywood, Health & Society’s role in fostering children’s programming was extensive, conducting 24 briefings and consultations with 11 experts, with topics including outdoor play and energy, swimming safety, broken bones and germs, among others. The HH&S program also offers services for writers and producers ranging from panel discussions, research into TV content analysis, tip sheets on health topics and a newsletter.

Helen Boehm, chairman of the Hub advisory board, called Buffington’s presentation “valuable and inspirational.”

“The integration of health and safety messages into programs and storylines is one of [our] top priorities,” she said.

That makes Rebound, Lucky, Cookie, Niblet and the rest of the Pound Puppies—along with the other Hub TV characters—very happy indeed.

Above, Optimus Prime from The Hub TV network show “Transformers”