TVBizwire

Disney Bursts SOAPnet's Bubble LA Times

Disney is about to burst the bubble of the SOAPnet channel. The Los Angeles Times' Company Town reports that the Walt Disney Co. is pulling the plug on the soap opera-focused cable channel at the end of this year.

Disney created the channel 14 years ago to get more mileage out of its daytime dramas, the report notes.

Three years ago, DIsney said it would fold SOAPnet to make room for Disney Junior, which targets toddlers. But because cable and satellite TV operators still wanted to provide soap operas to their customers, Disney continued to provide programming for both channels, the story says.

But Disney has recently told cable operators that it will stop programming SOAPnet after Dec. 31. Disney stopped charging distributors for the network several months ago, as programming tapered off and the channel started airing reruns of old shows such as "One Tree Hill," the piece notes.

Meanwhile, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger praised Disney Junior on a recent earnings call with analysts, noting that retail sales for related products more than doubled in fiscal 2013. The network is the top-rated TV outlet for preschoolers, the report adds.

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