BURBANK, Calif., May 27 (UPI) -- U.S. cable television channel SOAPNet will go dark to make way for a 24-hour channel devoted to preschool children, Disney ABC Television Group said.
When announcing the decision Wednesday, Disney Media Networks Co-Chairwoman Anne Sweeney said the decision to scrub the cable channel in 2012 was "not arrived at lightly," but was a recognition that viewing patterns made the network outmoded, Entertainment Weekly reported.
"SOAPnet was created in 2000 to give daytime viewers the ability to watch time-shifted soaps, before multi-platform viewing and DVRs were part of our vocabulary," Sweeney 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."
Taking its place will be Disney Junior, a 24-hour cable-satellite channel aimed at the U.S. preschool set. The company has 22 channels globally that are devoted to preschool programming -- Playhouse Disney -- but none in the United States, Entertainment Weekly said.
"By adding a dedicated U.S. channel for preschoolers to our global portfolio, we look forward to enhancing that sense of magical storytelling and parental trust, and expanding our offerings, locally and globally, from morning to night, to deliver more Disney-quality content that will resonate with generations to come," Carolina Lightcap, president of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a statement.