During Day 1 of ABC-Disney portion of TCA, the group revealed that its Disney Junior channel now has a launch date: midnight on March 23. The 24-hour channel that will target kids 2-7 and their parents is replacing SoapNet, which is being phased out. Disney Junior started life in 2010 as a programming block on Disney Channel; that block will remain after the launch. “This marks the beginning of a sea change in the ‘preschool plus’ television landscape,” Disney Channels Worldwide president and COO Gary Marsh said in the release announcing the news. “The response to our Disney Junior programming block has been extremely positive from both our affiliate partners and our viewers’ parents. On March 23, when it launches as a stand-alone channel, our audience will have the opportunity to experience an engaging, learning-focused and uniquely Disney destination on a 24-hour basis.” Disney Junior will include runs of existing shows Jake And The Never Land Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and new show Doc McStuffins, as well as a weekend movie block.
Meanwhile, Disney XD said it will launch a dedicated Marvel programming block, Marvel Universe,on April 1. It will include the new series Ultimate Spider-Man and the return of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes new among animated short-form series and live-action interstitials that target the channel’s boys 6-14 demo.
Less than a week after the cancellations of ABC’s daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live emotions are still raw, with the frustration of soap fans and people who worked on the two shows often focused on ABC Daytime president Brian Frons and his business strategy lieutenant Kate Nelson. The demise of the sudsers is part of a larger strategy by Disney to get out of the soap business that also claimed cable channel SOAPNet, set to be rebranded as Disney Jr. early next year. But before the Disney Channel team’s concept was chosen by Disney/ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney, there were several other ideas for the channel that came out of the ABC Daytime division. Here is an insider’s perspective on the events that led to the cancellation of AMC and OLTL, as well as on some of the consequences, by a person who has worked at the company:
I have worked at ABC Daytime for several years and have experienced a lot of the ups and downs especially since Brian Frons and Kate Nelson took over. With the announcement of the cancellation of All My Children and One Life to Life, I feel that they completely failed all of the people that worked for them.
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Here is yet another big test of whether a Hollywood guild will push back against the insurmountable power of Big Media. The website Daytime Confidential.com has learned from multiple sources (and asked me to get the word out) that ABC Daytime has approached the Writers Guild of America requesting a special waiver — or else. It would allow the broadcast network to cut up to 20 scripted episodes a year from each of their three soap operas — All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital — and replace them with classic episodes. This waiver also would allow ABC Daytime to disregard guarantees already promised writers in their current contracts. “ABC is basically saying, if you don’t give us the waiver, we’ll have no choice but to start firing writers on each show,” a source told the website.
The website says ABC gave the WGA a deadline of August to make a decision – or else the network will play hardball and start firing at least one writer on each show. It just so happens, that month, ABC starts airing its first round of “classic episodes” in order to promote the return of fan favorite Vanessa Marcil (Brenda Barrett) to General Hospital.
ABC Daytime is claiming it needs to shave production costs to “help to keep the soaps on the air,” a source told DaytimeConfidential. “People are really split. Some feel like, ‘Do what you need to do to keep all three soaps on the air’, while others … Read More »