Disney to Shut Down SOAPnet, Launch Disney Junior Channel in 2012

Disney plans to shut down SOAPnet to make way for new cable channel Disney Junior in 2012, the company announced Wednesday.

SOAPnet launched in 2000 and currently airs a mix of recent episodes of daytime soap operas like General Hospital and The Young and the Restless, as well as repeats of such primetime dramas as Beverly Hills, 90210 and One Tree Hill. SOAPnet's one original series, the time-traveling drama Being Erica, was recently renewed for Season 3. Its fate now is unknown.

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Disney Junior will target children ages 2 to 7 and will feature new shows, including Jake and the Never Land Pirates, as well as such current Disney Channel series as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Special Agent Oso.

"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," Anne Sweeney, the president of Disney/ABC Television Group, said in a statement. "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."

Are you going to miss SOAPnet?

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