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Disney Ditching SOAPNet for Disney Junior

Disney/ABC Television Group recently announced that they will be replacing SOAPnet with Disney Junior, a new 24-hour basic cable/satellite channel dedicated to preschool-age children. The switch, which will take place in 2012, will effect the nearly 75 million homes that currently receive SOAPnet.

Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, said, “The decision to ultimately transition SOAPnet to accomplish this was not arrived at lightly,” she said. “SOAPnet was created in 2000 to give daytime viewers the ability to watch time-shifted soaps, before multiplatform viewing and DVRs were part of our vocabulary. But today, as technology and our businesses evolve, it makes more sense to align this distribution with a preschool channel that builds on the core strengths of our company.”

Another issue for the network is that soaps have been losing their audiences in record numbers, one of the major reasons CBS’ Guiding Light and As The World Turns have been canceled recently.

The 24-hour Disney Junior will feature several new series and Disney staples including Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Mickey MouseClubhouse, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, Imagination Movers and Jungle Junction.

Sweeney called the launch of Disney Junior in the U.S., “the next step in our global preschool strategy, which began 10 years ago with the premiere of our first dedicated preschool channel in the UK.”

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