CORRECTION: Since this story was published, DisZine has been contacted by ABC Daytime and SOAPnet, who offered clarification on the transition of channels carrying SOAPnet to Disney Junior. According to Publicity Director Mitch Messinger, SOAPnet and Disney Junior will run concurrently until SOAPnet is no longer available. “SOAPnet will remain available for an undetermined period of time as additional carriage deals for Disney Junior are finalized with distributors,” a spokesperson said. Many thanks to Mr. Messinger for reaching out to DisZine with this helpful information.
Set to debut in 2012 the Disney Company is making room for a new 24-hour children’s channel, “Disney Junior,” aimed at a target age group of 2-7. SoapNet, which currently has a 75-million-home distribution audience, will be dumped to make way for the new channel. Speculation is that the popularity of daytime soaps has been waning in popularity for some time & Disney wants to take advantage of the growing boom in children’s television.
“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,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks. “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.”
“Disney Junior” is expected to launch several new series, as well as feature current hits like “Handy Manny,” “Mickey Mouse Playhouse,” and “Jungle Junction.” It is also expected to run Disney classic movies like “The Little Mermaid,” “Lion King,” and “Aladdin.”