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May 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Like many of the shows that have appeared on it over the past decade, the cable channel SOAPnet is all washed up — or will be in 2012. That’s when the Walt Disney Co. intends to convert it into a new kids channel called Disney Junior, the New York Times reported on its website today (Wednesday). Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, told the newspaper that the move “represents the next step in a global preschool strategy” that has already been implemented overseas with the Playhouse Disney international outlets. The new channel, which will be available in about the same 75 million homes that currently are able to receive SOAPnet, intends to aim at a slightly wider demographic than the typical preschool channels, focusing on kids 2-7 rather than those just 2-5. Sweeney indicated that the decision to unplug SOAPnet was dictated by the fact that the original purpose of the channel — to allow soap-opera fans to watch their favorite shows at night — had become outdated with the rising use of digital video recorders. And, with many long-running daytime dramas going off the air, it had become difficult for the channel to find content.