My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated television series produced by Hasbro as part of its My Little Pony toy franchise, which is tied in with the 2010 launch of dolls and playsets, and original programming for its new network station The Hub. Lauren Faust was selected as the creative developer and executive producer for the show, based on her previous animation experience with shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Under Hasbro's guidance, Faust developed the show to appeal to the target demographic of young girls and their parents, but created characters and settings that challenged formerly stereotypical norms of "girly" images, and added adventure and humorous elements to keep parents interested. The show is animated using Flash, and produced at DHX Media's animation studio in Vancouver, Canada. Its production is overseen by director Jayson Thiessen, who took over as executive producer after Faust stepped down after the first season.
The show received praise from television critics and parental groups. It also found an unlikely audience in a large group of Internet users in late 2010 and early 2011. These older fans, typically males from 18 to 35, were drawn to the show's characters, stories, animation style, and influence of the show's propagation as an Internet meme. The fandom adopted the name brony (plural bronies), a portmanteau of "bro" and "pony". The fandom is considered part of a New Sincerity trend, and its technology-savvy members have created numerous works in writing, music, art, and video based on the show, and have established websites and fan conventions for the show.
The appreciation of the show by an older audience came as a surprise to Hasbro, Faust, and others involved with the show, but they have embraced the older fans while staying focused on the show's intended audience. Such reciprocity has included participation in fan conventions by the show's voice actors and producers, recognition of the brony fandom in official promotional material, and incorporating background characters popularized by the fans, such as the fandom-named "Derpy Hooves", into in-jokes within the show. As a result of these efforts in part, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has become a major commercial success with the series becoming the highest rated original production in The Hub's broadcast history.