SOAPnet is going away, and unlike Victor Newman or Stefano DiMera, it will stay dead. It will go away on Dec. 31, defeated by DVRs and declining ratings for the soap genre. Disney tried to end it in 2010, replacing it with Disney Junior. Cable operators and satellite operators weren’t ready to switch out a steady performer for an unproven newcomer.
But Disney caught a break while DirecTV and Viacom were at an impasse in 2012. Without access to popular kids’ channel Nickelodeon, DirecTV used Disney Junior as fill-in programming. Millions of children met Doc McStuffinsfor the first time, and they loved her.
With daytime soap operas waning in popularity and number (only four remain on TV) cable providers aren’t fighting the change this time. Disney had already stopped charging distributors a fee for SOAPnet. When the channel began nearly 15 years ago, it was hard for a dedicated fan to tape all their favorite soaps. The era of DVRs has made that a snap, and eroded the network’s ratings in the process. The Young and The Restless, currently the highest rated soap, has already started airing its nightly reruns on TV Guide Network.
This has been a bad couple of weeks for soap lovers. Prospect Park’s web-based revivals of cancelled ABC shows All My Children and One Life to Live are now done too. The production company has made no official announcement, but actors including AMC’s Cady McClain have already confirmed they aren’t returning to work.