Better enjoy those General Hospital reruns while you can. ABC and Disney announced Wednesday that they're shutting down their Soapnet channel and replacing it with something called Disney Junior, aimed at kids aged 2 to 7. Apparently in this economy, they're the only ones who have any money left. Disney Junior will air new series as well as familiar stuff like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Imagination Movers. And of course there will be Disney movies, including 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and the rest of the usual suspects. Best of all, insomniac pre-schoolers will have something to watch while chain-smoking at 4 a.m.: Disney Junior will be a 24-hour channel.
As for Soapnet, launched in 2000 and available in 75 million homes, let the wake begin. It'll be a long one: ABC won't pull the plug until 2012.