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Starting Saturday, March 24, SOAPnet will begin to transition to preschooler channel Disney Junior. Daytime Confidential is reporting that the executive in charge of the strategic programming at SOAPnet, Kate Nelson, has been let go, and that the channel's current operations are being taken over by the ABC Family arm.
"Yes, it's true that ABC Family has been given the opportunity to work with SOAPnet during the transition of the channel to Disney Junior," a spokesperson tells Soaps In Depth. "There are some great programming opportunities and numerous cable operation protocols/systems between the two groups that make this a smart move." So what does that mean for same-day rebrodcasts of GENERAL HOSPITAL, and SOAPnet's other acquired soaps, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and DAYS OF OUR LIVES? We're told that those shows will continue to air, alongside ABC Family's slate of programming. (Anyone else excited by the possibility of GREEK re-runs?)
As for when SOAPnet will fade to black and officially be taken over by the kiddies? That may still be a way off, with both networks co-existing on some carriers until the Walt Disney/ABC Television Group phases out SOAPnet altogether. "We've always viewed the launch of Disney Junior as a transition, not a flip of the switch," says the new cable channel's camp. "As such, SOAPnet will remain available for an undetermined period of time as additional carriage deals for Disney Junior are finalized with distributors."