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I don't know that moving ABC's slightly retooled version of THE TOY BOX to Sunday nights has been a good decision. The first season premiere last spring captured the attention of some 4 million+ viewers, but the remaining episodes bottomed-out around 2.4M. Now, three episodes into a new season with new judges and an altered format (gone are the "mentors), The Toy Box is averaging right around 2 million viewers a week, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things.  Still, there's another five weeks to go, and her at Rock Father HQ, our girls have really become invested in it - to the point of cheering things on, while blasting others. I'm biased, but The Rock Daughters™ should really be on the judging panel if the show gets picked up for Season Three (which has been in-development, but the ratings slide could nix that). Curious what new toys will be going in front of the judges this Sunday? Here's a preview!

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This past spring, I had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of ABC's latest competition series, THE TOY BOX. Now, the series is back for a second season in which a new crop of inventors will present their toy concepts to a panel of judges in hopes of making it to the end, in which the grand prize winner will see their toy manufactured by Mattel, to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. For Season Two, THE TOY BOX has been retooled - gone are the "industry mentors," and instead of facing just one panel of kid judges, contestants will face a rotating panel of five kids. The only returning judge from Season One is apparently, Noah Ritter. Like the first season, the episodes will be airing out of numeric order as they work toward the endgame, but for the purpose of my previews, I'll be labeling them by week. Curious what's on-deck for the first two episodes? Here's a preview...

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We all knew it was coming, and as I pointed out earlier this month, we know who's largely to blame: Iconic toy retailer Toys "R" Us has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and will soon take similar steps (CCAA) in Canada. In the later hours of September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us made it official, voluntarily filing for relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, and sharing the news via press release. It's important to note that while this news is serious, companies restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 all the time, though the companies with ownership stake in Toys "R" Us - particularly Bain Capital - leave much to be desired.

[Updated 9/18/2017 - 11pm CST - Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection]

There's a big problem at Geoffrey's house, and if you follow the toy industry or the retail sector in general, then you've no doubt seen it coming for years. Retail is a challenging space to begin with, and when you look at specialty retail, the landscape gets even bumpier. When it comes to toys, there's only one major toy store left in the United States, and that's New Jersey-based Toys "R" Us. While they've had their share of issues over the years, one thing that's really bothered me has been the involvement of Bain Capital Partners since 2005, at which time they, along with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust took part in a leveraged buyout of of the iconic toy retailer. There's a lineage here in which Bain Capital has notoriously taken successful companies, saddled them with debt, and eventually flushed them down the toilet, all while the "partners" make out like bandits. One such victim was KB Toys, who Bain targeted as a profitable business with over $1.4B of annual sales. Strapped with debt, bankruptcy followed, and eventually KB was dead. History has been known to repeat itself, and it looks like Toys "R" Us could be the next victim. After all, Bain is playing the same game right now with another retailer - Gymboree, who was acquired in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

Following Lucasfilm's official announcement of their Global Force Friday II, now the retailers are chiming in with their plans for the launch of new toys and merchandise from Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Toys "R" Us hit Rock Father HQ with details on what's happening at the house of Geoffrey, and it's looking good. The main concern (as always) will be availability of enough product, particularly on the action figure & vehicle front at launch, but Toys "R" Us tends to have a pretty big set-up. See the announcement from TRU below...

Ever since posting a sneak-preview of Spin Master's RUSTY RIVETS toy collection back in February, one of the most-often-asked questions I get is: "When are those Rusty Rivets toys coming out?" When I was at Sweet Suite in NYC with The Toy Insider earlier this month, I asked one of my friends at Spin Master and was presented with the cryptic "they've been pushed back slightly, but they're coming soon." Today we have the date...

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