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It was in September of 2017 when the rumblings of a major restructuring really took hold for Toys "R" Us. I offered-up some commentary on one of their owners, Bain Captial, and how I feared that they were positioning Toys "R" Us for a repeat of the fleecing and destruction that they subjected KB Toys to in the early 2000s. A week later, the rumbles became reality as Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. While it was "business-as-usual" for the most part at the actual stores, now that the holiday season is behind us, the dark reality that everyone knew was coming has arrived: store closures. In a statement issued late on Tuesday, Dave Brandon, Chairman & CEO of Toys "R" Us announced that they're pairing down the store list, but he reaffirmed the commitment to making Toys "R" Us a destination for generations to come. One thing not included in the message was the actual store closing list, but that was buried in a court filing from yesterday afternoon. Around 180 stores will be shuttered between February-April, and sadly the Toys "R" Us that I shopped at as a kid is one of the ones about to go, and as an adult I've shopped at four of the eight Illinois locations about to go dark. Of note is that many of the store closings are actually stand-alone Babies "R" Us locations, and it's expected that nearby Toys "R" Us stores will be remodeled to be TRU/BRU combo stores. Here's the local list...

Zuru's Hamsters in a House first hit the scene a couple of years ago - tiny, electronic, scurrying hamsters that roam around customizable plastic track. Now, the Hamsters are back with a second series, and it's following a popular trend: food. Hamsters in a House: Food Frenzy has launched at Target and Toys "R" Us for holiday 2017, allowing kids to expand the world of Hamtasia with a new collection of hamsters, playsets, track pieces and accessories!

Sunday, November 19 2017 19:06

THE TOY BOX Crowns a Second Season Winner...

The second season of THE TOY BOX has come to a close on ABC, and now we know which new toy the judges have crowned champion. For the past eight weeks, the kid judges have come face-to-face with hopeful toy inventors, each competing for a shot at having their creation mass-produced by Mattel and made available for sale exclusively at Toys "R" Us. The winner this time around? Hydroshield aka Water Dodger! But that's not all, as Toys "R" Us chose Eardorables as a runner-up, and host Eric Stonestreet's personal favorite,  Wobb-Ball (seen as Flexxball) s a reality as well. See the winning toys below...

It's week six for the second season of ABC's THE TOY BOX and this coming Sunday we'll get a look at new batch of toys from a fresh crop of hopeful toy inventors. As we've seen before, not all of the toys being showcased are truly "new," and several of them have crossed my path here at Rock Father HQ in recent years. This week sees a game that launched at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair back in 2012 - Ninja Cards. Sound familiar? They might, as they already made a failed run at Shark Tank back in 2014. Five years in, how will this one fare against the judges on The Toy Box? We'll find out this Sunday, but first check out the full rundown on all eight toys competing this week...

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We've cleared the halfway mark for the second season of ABC's slightly retooled version of THE TOY BOX and this coming Sunday we'll get a look at a fresh batch of toys from a new crop of hopeful toy inventors. This week we've got yet another toy that first hit my radar some years back - "My Doll Room," which was previously marketed as "American Doll Room." Geared toward 18" dolls, it'll be interesting to see how that fares when put in front of Mattel, makers of American Girl. Check out the full rundown on all seven toys competing this week...

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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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