Disney has recently announced that SOAPnet, the 24-hour soap channel that rebroadcasts episodes of Days of Our Lives and four other daytime soaps, will go off the air in January 2012 and be replaced by Disney Junior, a channel for preschoolers. This means viewers will no longer be able to catch up on daily episodes of DAYS, The Young and the Restless, or any of the other ABC soaps in the evenings.
SOAPnet was launched in 2000 in order to give daytime soap fans the opportunity to watch time-shifted soaps, before multiplatform viewing and DVRs were part of our world. Viewers were able to watch classic hit primetime soaps such as Dallas, Knots Landing, Dynasty, and Beverly Hills 90210. Same-day episodes of DAYS can currently be seen weeknights at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and also at 10 a.m. the following day.
Anne Sweeney, co-chairwoman of Disney Media Networks quotes in a Disney press release: "The launch of Disney Junior in the U.S. is the next step in our global preschool strategy, which began 10 years ago with the premiere of our first dedicated preschool channel in the UK. The decision to ultimately transition SOAPnet to accomplish this was not arrived at lightly. 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."
DAYS viewers can still catch up on any missed episodes online at NBC.com. I am one who appreciates having SOAPnet on my channel lineup, and I believe I speak for many viewers on how annoying it is to have our favorite daytime soap interrupted by those local breaking news segments. As a result, we've missed the first fifteen or twenty minutes of our show. Thank goodness we can watch those lost minutes on SOAPnet for the time being.
Read Soap Opera Digest's interview with Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group, and get his take on what this means for ABC Daytime.
As for DAYS and the CBS soap The Young & The Restless, which are both produced by Sony Pictures, SOAPnet going off the air means a revenue stream will be removed for both of these shows. DAYS will remain on the air until at least 2011, since it got renewed by NBC for another season, as previously reported back in March. Whether or not it remains on the air after next year remains to be seen. In the meantime, we can still enjoy kicking back on our sofas and catching up on DAYS on SOAPnet for another 18 months.