My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a Canadian-American children's animated fantasy television series created by Lauren Faust for Hasbro. The series is based on Hasbro's My Little Pony line of toys and animated works and is often referred by collectors as the fourth generation ("G4") of the franchise. The series premiered on October 10, 2010, on The Hub cable channel (which was renamed as Discovery Family in late 2014). Hasbro selected animator Lauren Faust as the creative director and executive producer for the show. Faust sought to challenge the established nature of the existing My Little Pony line, creating more in-depth characters and adventurous settings; she left the series during season 2, to be replaced by Meghan McCarthy as showrunner.
The show follows a studious anthropomorphic unicorn pony named Twilight Sparkle as her mentor Princess Celestia guides her to learn about friendship in the town of Ponyville. Twilight and her dragon assistant Spike become close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. Each of the ponies represent a different facet of friendship, and Twilight discovers herself to be a key part of the magical artifacts known as the "Elements of Harmony". The ponies travel on adventures and help others around Equestria while working out problems that arise in their own friendships.
The series has become a major commercial success, becoming the most highly rated original production in the Hub Network's broadcast history and leading to new merchandising opportunities for Hasbro, including books, clothing, collectible trading cards, and comics. Despite the target demographic of young girls, Friendship Is Magic has also gained a large following of older viewers, mainly young and middle-aged men, who call themselves "bronies". Portions of the show have become part of the remix culture, and have formed the basis for a variety of internet memes.
As of October 2018, the show ended its eighth season with a ninth and final season currently in production. A feature-length film adaptation directly based on the TV series, titled My Little Pony: The Movie, was theatrically released on October 6, 2017 in the United States. A spin-off franchise, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, was launched in 2013. The first two films, Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks, has been shown in limited theatrical screenings prior to television broadcast and home media release.