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Deborah Blackwell, the former general manager of SOAPnet, has passed away at the age of 63, reports Deadline. The television executive, who built the channel for Disney ABC Cable Networks Group and ran SOAPnet from 2001-07, died following a seven-year battle with Pick's disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder. Under her direction, SOAPnet grew to a network that not only ran same-day episodes of the ABC Daytime dramas, but acquired THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and DAYS OF OUR LIVES, added a primetime programming slate and launched original series like SOAPOGRAPHY, I WANNA BE A SOAP STAR, the SOAP TALK chatfest and the GENERAL HOSPITAL: NIGHT SHIFT spin-off.
We send our condolences to Blackwell's family.